The Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan was held on Friday at Parliament House.
The meeting was chaired by Senator Sajid Mir and was attended by Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Falak Naz, Senator Irfan Ul Haq Siddiqui, Senator Muhammad Qasim, Senator Shahadat Awan, and senior officers of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs Gilgit Baltistan, Government of Gilgit Baltistan and the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The agenda before the Committee pertained to PSDP budget utilization from 1st January to 30 June, 2022 and implementation status regarding various issues taken up in previous meetings. The Committee also discussed the status of Glacial Lake Outbursts Floods (GLOF) in Gilgit Baltistan; especially with reference to the latest GLOF incident in Skardu and measures taken by the Government to curb these.
The meeting commenced with a discussion on the latest situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK) especially with regards to the sentencing of Yasin Malik. The Committee showed concern towards the government’s lax attitude towards the issue and stressed the need for a concrete plan to address the issue internationally. Speaking about the recent GLOF incident in G&B, Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman stressed the need for the government to step up measures to deal with this issue head-on. She asked Advisor to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira to prepare a PC1 for this issue so that the Ministry of Climate Change may advocate to international bodies for foreign funds.
Reviewing the PSDP budgetary utilizations from 1st January to 30 June, 2022 the Committee was informed of utilization of Government of Gilgit Baltistan during the past six months. Advisor to Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira was of the view that even if 25 percent for a certain project is unavailable, new projects must not be started.
While reviewing implementation status of various recommendations made in previous meetings by the Committee, it was asserted that affordability by the Government is an essential aspect for any projects that may be recommended by the Committee. The Federal Government may take on the project; yet in stringent times such as these with raging high level inflation, it is essential that feasibility for every project is carried out.