CHILAS: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Tuesday termed the US 12 billion dollars Diamir-Bhasha Dam project a “life-line” for the national economy, that would help meet country’s future agricultural and power requirements.
He was addressing the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the world’s highest concrete dam on River Indus that would generate 19 billion units of electricity annually and enhance life of Tarbela Dam by over 35 years.Prime Minister Gilani termed it a historic day and appreciated the people of Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and their political leadership for standing united to initiate the mega project.
He said the gigantic project would generate 4500 MW electricity and store over 8 Million Acre Feet of water to meet country’s growing power and irrigation needs, and was the outcome of consensus amongst all stakeholders.He said taking clue from the fate of the Kalabagh Dam that fell victim to some politicians who kept on playing to the gallery, he decided to take all stakeholders on board.
Gilani paid rich tributes to the political acumen of all political parties for backing the project. The Prime Minister also lauded the local people who had to sacrifice their ancestral lands for a great national cause.The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to the international donors for the project.He regretted that had the work on the project started earlier, it would have gone a long way in alleviating the sense of deprivation of the people.
Gilani said the dam was the outcome of the vision of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and recalled that in 1974-75 Northern Areas Framework Ordinance was promulgated and all agencies were given the status of Districts.He said Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had added Ghizer and Ganche as new districts and launched work on the Pak-China symbol of Karakoram Highway.
POLITICS:Prime Minister Gilani stressed consistency in national politics to ensure continuity of policies and said it helps develop faith of the people in their elected representatives.Gilani said he and his government had no interest in “clinging to the power” because the public service could be done by being either at treasury and opposition benches.He said he had directed that all the projects initiated during his government, must be completed, along with the work on ongoing projects.
He said the multitude of problems that the country was facing could not be resolved by a single leader, or any particular party. He said all the political leadership and parties needed to stand united and work for the progress and prosperity of the country.Gilani said the coalition government during the last around four years, has made unprecedented achievements.He said the politicians having the “March Syndrome” were not in fact afraid of the election of Senate, but of the credit due to the coalition government for presenting next budget for fifth consecutive time.He said the government would come up with several new development projects in the next budget that would bring in more stability.Gilani said those wishing to weaken the government would not succeed and the people of country would elect their leaders on merit.
ANNOUNCEMENTS:Gilani, referring to the pointing of a complaint about payment of compensation said a committee has already worked on the matter and if there were any more issues, these need to be resolved by sitting together with the leadership of the GB. He also asked the Chief Minister GB to accommodate elected members from MQM in the government so that they can play a positive role in the development of their area.He said agreements had been entered with China on the construction of 165 km Jaglot-Skardu and 135 km long Jaglot-Sazin.
Gilani announced Rs 200 million for District Diamir, setting up of Engineering faculty at the KKH University, that would be later upgraded to a separate engineering university. He directed setting up of a Cadet College at Chillas He announced an additional amount of Rs one billion to the Government of GB for KKH and other roads besides the already allocated amount of Rs 11.5 billion.The Prime Minister also directed Wapda to initiate work on upgradation of three DHQ hospitals at Chilas and Skardu, a public school at Ganche, sponsorship of GB scouts, where local people of Diamir Bhasha be given preference.
Referring to a demand for a road from Ghizer to Tajikistan, the Prime Minister said talks were underway with the governments of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. He said the government was desirous of providing connectivity with the Central Asian Republics.Gilani said the Pakistan Television was already airing news bulletins in Shina and Balti languages.
The event was attended by Minister for Defence Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Governor Gilgit Baltistan Pir Karam Ali Shah, Chief Minister GB Mehdi Shah, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Ahmed Khan, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Masood Kauser and Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti. – APP