The Leader of the Opposition in the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Legislative Assembly, Bashir Ahmed on Tuesday made a scathing criticism on the government and blamed the regional leadership for failing to exercise powers delegated to them in the G-B Empowerment Order.
“Our regional leadership is inept and has been unable to utilise the powers delegated in the self governance order,” said Ahmed, a PML-Q member while talking to local reporters.
“In the past, we would blame lack of powers, but when [powers] were devolved to us, we failed to capitalise on it,” he said. Justifying his claims, he said the assembly passed about 14 bills in the past 18 months, yet the only one that was made into law pertained to the salaries of the chief minister and assembly members.
He also asked if it was the job of the federal government to implement the decisions and rulings of the legislative assembly.
In addition, he said a number of resolutions were passed by the local assembly unanimously, but implementation on them has yet to take place.
He called the 2011-2012 budget “jugglery of figures”, which affected the poor directly. “Development has been reversed since the government has taken over as no funds are available to complete the abandoned projects, let alone starting new ones. He said whatever projects were completed were due to the intervention of the judiciary.
The opposition leader censured the government for not sharing the money received for the victims of Attabad lake disaster, saying that the G-B government had got billions of rupees from various institutions, including the Punjab and Kashmir governments, apart from NGOs and philanthropists. “Does anybody know where the money has gone?” he asked, demanding that the assembly should be taken on board.
He said the government had no idea about its own problems such as the chopped timber lying in Diamer valley for the past one decade. “Timber worth billions of rupees is rotting under the sun and rain for the past one decade, but the government has so far failed to take any decision on its fate.”
Ahmed said that the royalty of Diamer-Bhasha Dam would come to Rs132 billion at the present rate, which if actually given to G-B, would make the mountain region the country’s richest area.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2011.