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Speaker Nazir Ahmed Forms Committee to Probe Leasing of Government Properties in Gilgit-Baltistan

Opposition MPs fiercely objected to the government’s intention to lease government properties to Green Tourism Pvt Ltd for a 30-year period during the GB Assembly pre-budget session. Syed Sohail Abbas Shah, a former member of the GB cabinet, declared the arrangement unconstitutional, claiming it did not adhere to protocol. He said that the GB administration obtained signatures from some members through circulation and took the decision without calling a cabinet meeting. Another opposition member, Javed Ali Manwa, said that the firm also received hundreds of kanals of land at popular tourist destinations. He maintained that the locals were being treated unfairly by this. Ghulam Mohammad, the minister of tourism for GB, stressed that the government did not outsource land; rather, it did so for better management and income. Interior Minister Shams Lone of GB promised that the government will safeguard natural resources and areas. Amjad Hussain then proposed to the house that a committee be formed to deal with the matter. He bemoaned the fact that British land was being “sold to multi-national companies and five-star hotels” and called for support for legislation that would safeguard local ownership and natural resources. In Skardu, a demonstration against the proposal to lease off government land for decades was also planned. Marching from Skardu’s Jail Chowk to the city park area, the demonstrators threatened the responsible authorities with terrible repercussions should they not reverse their decision.
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