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May 2, 2021

Package for GB

Editorial

 
May 2, 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his visit to Gilgit-Baltistan, announced a package of Rs 370 billion for the region over the next five years. The package is to be used to generate hydel power, improve the existing WiFi system in the territory, provide sanitation and sewerage to parts of the urban towns and cities in the region which are overpressed for these facilities and to offer the people as much as is possible in terms of development and facilities that they require. The prime minister also spoke of doing far more to develop tourism in the area, and also the traditional industries. It should be noted that with a literacy rate of 37 percent overall and considerable empowerment for women in some parts of the region through higher education made available to them, as well as better schooling set up by private organisations, Gilgit-Baltistan is unique in some facets of life. The fact that certain schools operate at a very high level shows how much can be achieved through good quality education for people.

The prime minister said that developing tourism would be one of the prime factors of the development package for Gilgit-Baltistan. There can be no doubt at all that GB has beautiful spots, which match those found anywhere in the world. We must however take steps to ensure that the ecology of the area is not damaged. We have seen this happen as roads opened up more areas of Kaghan and Swat to tourists, with once pristine lakes badly polluted. It would be terrible to see the same happen to Gilgit-Baltistan. The community too would be disturbed by this with some residents of the area already expressing concern in the past over the behaviour of local tourists who have visited their region. All this needs to be considered as the package is set up. It is however clear that GB needs to be developed and the PM’s efforts to do so are welcome. We hope that further steps will be taken in the future and that the quality of life of people who live in the remote parts of our country can be brought at par with those who live in urban centres elsewhere across Pakistan, giving them the same status as citizens.