Northern Areas council will be made an assembly: minister
17 January 2007
The Daily Times
Islamabad: The federal government is ready to give the status of an assembly to the Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) but it requires more homework, said Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Maj (r) Tahir Iqbal while presiding over a meeting of the NALC cabinet in Islamabad on Wednesday. There are serious administrative and legal matters involved, sources quoted him as saying. The minister, they said, told the meeting that the government was considering a number of reports on the issue and would come up with a comprehensive plan to delegate power to Northern Areas representatives. During the seven-hour long meeting, the federal minister also discussed the problems being faced by NALC advisers. A constitutional reform package granting fundamental constitutional powers to the Northern Areas representatives is in the final stages and would soon be sent to the federal cabinet for approval, says a press release. The federal minister said the reforms would be introduced as amendments in the Legal Framework Order (LFO) and 90 percent of the recommendations made by the Northern Areas representatives are likely to be approved. The federal minister said that the LFO had been drafted under his supervision after detailed deliberations with all quarters concerned. It had been validated by the Ministry of Law, he said, and was now with the Ministry of Finance for approval. The meeting was held for a midterm review of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) in the Northern Areas and the performance of various departments. The federal minister said projects under the ADP were being satisfactorily implemented and 69 percent of the funds had been used to achieve development targets set forth by the government. He said the socio-economic progress of the Northern Areas was the governments priority and the provision of electricity to the entire area was its primary goal. Smaller districts such as Ganchi, Astore and Chilas will get electricity on priority, he said.