Weekly Bang-e-sahar Saturday,April 5-11,2008
By Our Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Northern Areas and Kashmir Affairs Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira has said the new government would introduce a constitutional package for Gilgit-Baltistan after consultation with the people of the region. In his media interviews soon after taking charge of his office, the minister, who is ex-officio chairman of the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly, also made it clear that before bringing any reforms and constitutional changes affecting the region, the local people would be consulted and taken into confidence. Mr Kaira said a legislative assembly was already working in Northern Areas and his priority would be to give the house more powers in accordance with the manifesto of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) which visualizes autonomy to all the federating units, particularly Balochistan, Fata and the Northern Areas. He said people of these regions would be given their due rights as provided to other areas of the country. He said after consultation with the elected representatives of the Northern Areas, the government would not only introduce a people’ friendly package but would also ensure its prompt implementation. He lauded the sacrifices of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for the cause of democracy and refereed to the October 18 attack on Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming rally in Karachi in which scores of party workers and activists from the region were killed or injured. He said the PPP had great respect for the people who have never lagged behind in struggle for restoration of democracy in the country. He said he considered his new assignment as a challenge and was happy too that he had hot an opportunity to serve the people of the region. About the Kashmir issue, the minister said ongoing talks between Pakistan and India would be expedited to resolve the issue.