October 2006 News

PM for steps to promote tourism in N.As

7 October 2006
The Dawn

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has asked the Northern Areas administration to prepare a comprehensive plan to exploit the immense tourism potential in the area. He was talking to six advisers of the Northern Areas Legislative Council who called on him at the PM House on Saturday. Mr Aziz said the scenic Northern Areas was important not only for their immense tourism potential but also for being the gateway to China. He said the Karakoram Highway was being expanded. He said budgetary allocation for the Northern Areas had been increased particularly in the field of education. He said the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam would usher in a new era of prosperity and development in the area as thousands of new jobs would be created. On being told that only Gilgit and Skardu districts had utility stores branches, Mr Aziz directed the managing director of the Utility Stores Corporation to immediately set up branches in the remaining districts as well. Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Tahir Iqbal apprised the prime minister of the various steps being taken to facilitate tourists in the Northern Areas. Special assistant to the prime minister Khalilur Rahman and deputy chief executive Northern Areas Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan also attended the meeting. LAW & ORDER Minister Tahir Iqbal has said the law and order situation in the Northern Areas was satisfactory. Presiding over a meeting of the Northern Areas Legislative Council here on Saturday, he said, “we have been successful in maintaining law and order in Northern Areas during the last six months and steps are being taken to ensure peace in the area in the future.” He asked the advisers of the council to play a positive role in this regard and establish linkages with the religious leaders of their sects. He said all the pending promotion cases in the area would be finalised in the next two months and a coherent promotion and recruitment policy would be devised. The advisers complained about non-cooperative attitude of some government officials. The minister said the administrative mechanism in various departments of the Northern Areas would be streamlined and powers would be delegated to ensure proper functioning. The minister said qualified professionals belonging to the Northern Areas would be hired on contract for development projects and capacity development in the fields of tourism and mineral development, etc. Mir Ghazanfar Ali briefed the minister about the working of various departments and said due to shortage of experienced staff various obstacles were being faced.


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