Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged that the federal government will work on fast track basis to grant the provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan in order to address the sense of deprivation of the people of the region. Addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the new cabinet member of Gilgit-Baltistan on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that a committee to this effect will be constituted and it will work under a time frame. The Premier congratulated the cabinet and Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid on assuming a “difficult duty to serve the masses”. He expressed confidence that the new government in GB will set new standards of governance that will improve the living standard of the people. “I know your area. I know your problems,” he said. Unveiling his plan for development and welfare of the people of GB, Imran Khan said the present government’s Ehsaas Programme, which is the largest poverty alleviation programme of Pakistan history, will be introduced in GB as well. He said all the people of GB will be provided health insurance with the issuance of Sehat Insaf Cards under which they can get free medical facilities at any hospital up to one million rupees. He said the under-construction 250-bed hospital in Gilgit will be completed. The Prime Minister expressed commitment to turn Gilgit Baltistan into a hub of tourism. He said that easy loans will be provided to the people to help them construct rooms at their residences for tourists. He said that 300MW hydro electricity will be generated, which will be more than sufficient for the region. He said that two hydro electricity power stations are being constructed; two others are in the pipeline while two more have been approved. Besides, he said, micro hydro power stations will also be set up. The Prime Minister said that a special economic zone (SEZ) will also be constructed in GB where industries will be relocated. Elaborating the PTI’s vision, Imran Khan said that he is focused to uplift the living standard of the downtrodden segment of the society. He said development of the backward areas, including GB, merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan is a priority of his government. Commenting on the recent interview of former finance minister Ishaq Dar on BBC News, the Prime Minister said, “If you want to see stress, you should have seen Ishaq Dar’s face yesterday,” adding that Dar lied in the interview. Dar, who is also a close relative of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had revealed during the BBC interview that he owns only one property in Pakistan and that too, has been seized by the government.