ISLAMABAD           -        Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan (KA&GB) has initiated a project worth Rs.3.6 billion for rehabilitation and welfare of the people whose houses have been destroyed in frequent incidents of shelling by Indian forces from across the Line of Control (LoC). 

The ministry has earmarked Rs.564 million for the fiscal year 2020-21 in the project titled “Rehabilitation of Affected Population residing along Line of Control” that included development of safety bunkers, emergency health units, access roads, and provision of electricity to localities along LoC. According to an official handout, the ministry had taken multiple initiatives during last two years to assist and help the governments of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan in developing institutions to ensure self-governance, sustainable economic development and political system to respond to the needs of general public.

A compensation package under the Benazir Income Support Programme was introduced for the affectees of Indian shelling residing at LoC. The BISP LOC Package for financial year 2019-2020, included 33,498 females in addition to enrolled 13,982 beneficiaries. The total annual financial impact would be Rs.502.47 million. Every day shelling had a direct bearing on the livelihood of LoC residents as it was damaging their houses, shops, fruit trees and crops. 

Around 503,000 people from 79,992 families reside along the LoC and have been directly exposed to Indian shelling. Moreover, Sehat Sahulat programme was launched across all districts of AJK and GB. During the year 2019-20, the Sehat Sahulat enrolled approximately 79,992 poor families for better access of the region. Through this programme “Sehat Insaf Cards” were provided to families resulting in to health care services in hospitals across Pakistan. A 250-bed hospital was also inaugurated at Skardu. 

Earthquake of September, 24, last, struck District Mirpur and adjoining areas and caused widespread damages to public infrastructure and private properties. In this regard, the ministry took up the matter with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Finance Division for the adoption of earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation plan and provision of funds. 

The development of AJK and GB was given top priority and total PSDP (PUBLIC SECTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME) allocation which were Rs.43,641 million in 2017-18 and Rs.43,302 million in 2018-19 were enhanced to Rs.44,800 million in 2019-20. The allocation for current fiscal year was Rs.52,424.602. Through the GB Reforms the subjects “Minerals, Tourism, Forestry” have been transferred to GB Government which were previously dealt by GB Council Secretariat. It will ensure better administrative and centralized decision involving. 

Tourist Police Gilgit Baltistan, comprising educated and trained personnel had been established for ensuring safe and secure environment to tourists, as well as access to information and guidance about tourist destinations. This also facilitated safe movement of tourists on KKH (Karakoram Highway) tourist destinations, and support to tourists during emergency accidents. GB police initially comprised of 150 personnel space. Timely re-opening of road leading to GB through Babusar Top, re-opening of roads closed due to land sliding. Tourist information centers and facilitation centers had been established in AJK and GB. Some 115 of BS-16 and above recruitment cases of GB had been processed through Federal Public Service Commission. 

Every Year 135 educational stipends were granted to the students holding domicile of AK and J&K refugee in 17 disciplines Rs.10,000 annually with the total financial impact of Rs 1,350,000. Since illegal abolition of the special status of Indian occupied Kashmir by India on 5th August 2019, the atrocities of Indian forces and struggle of Kashmiris for self-determination was highlighted by the Ministry through electronic and print media, seminars, processions, making of hand-chains and city branding throughout the country. Agricultural land measuring 834-acres at village Purab, Sheikhupura had been leased out for Rs.39,888,027 as compared to previous lease of Rs.17,828,475 which shows 123 per cent increase.