Body formed for Northern Areas status

18 November 2008
The Nation

Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani constituted a Cabinet Committee to look into the possibility of granting constitutional status to Northern Areas and also directed to extend Benazir Income Support Programme to the region.The premier passed these orders while talking to a delegation of Northern Areas Legislators and Advisors headed by Chief Executive Northern Areas, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Rani of Hunza, who called on the former here at the PM House Tuesday afternoon.The Chief Executive Northern Areas gave a detailed briefing to the Prime Minister about the Northern Areas. He informed that there was exemplary peace in the Northern Areas due to which the World Bank team had selected it for its project for the development of tourism industry in the region.The Chief Executive stressed the need of granting constitutional status to Northern Areas and responding to the demand Premier Gilani had constituted the Cabinet Committee comprising Minister for Law and Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas to look into the status of Northern Areas.Talking about the empowerment to the people's representatives, the Chief Executive said that the Northern Areas Assembly should be given more powers enabling it to deliver more towards solving people's problems.He said that the already announced and notified new administrative districts of Hunza, Nagar and sub-districts of Rondu and Daghuni should be actualized.While discussing the status of Basha Diamer Dam, the Chief Executive said that it should be re-named as Diamer Dam in order to resolve the issue of royalty between the Northern Areas and NWFP.The Chief Executive requested the Prime Minister for the materialisation of the special package announced by the previous government to provide interest free loans up to Rs 50,000 to the people of Northern Areas.He further requested the Prime Minister to lift ban on government jobs in addition to agri-loans and other loans on easy terms for the people of Northern Areas to generate more economic activity.