The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution to pay tribute to the late global peace icon Nelson Mandela. The resolution was tabled by Information Minister Sadia Danish and was approved unanimously by the house.
Deputy Speaker Jamil Ahmed conducted proceedings on the second day of the session as Speaker Wazir Baig was on leave.
Earlier, lawmakers complained that villagers affected by the 2010 floods were still awaiting complete compensation. “It is a pity that the people affected in my valley haven’t been compensated as yet,” said Ayub Shah, a Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker from Ghizer Valley.
“They recently observed a week-long hunger strike demanding assistance and we barely managed to convince them to end the protest,” said Shah, adding people are living under miserable conditions. Under the government’s Watan Card Scheme, they have been provided just one installment of Rs100,000 each.
A lawmaker from Ghanche Valley, Farman Ali, said the 2010 floods destroyed his valley and the people there only received one installment under the Watan Card. “But what is more worrying is that funds have mostly been given to those who did not deserve them.”
A senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader from Skardu highlighted the plight of 22 families of the Hoto area who have lost their homes to soil erosion. He said a portion of the road linking Skardu with Gilgit is likely to be wiped away if the erosion is not curtailed immediately.
Rehmat Khaliq from Diamer and Abdul Hameed from Astore also complained of lack of funds for their valleys and demanded an immediate release of funds.
G-B Law Minister Ali Madad Sher informed members about his government’s efforts to seek monetary compensation for the affected people and said it is yet to be sanctioned by the relevant authorities.
Chief Minister Mehdi Shah said whatever help had been extended to those affected in the region up till now was from his own resources.
Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Akhtar, replying to a question, said he was facing several hurdles from the bureaucracy to implement his orders. Later, the session was adjourned till Wednesday.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2013.