ISLAMABAD - Amid wide criticism from opposition parties Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Chaudhry Barjees Tahir took oath as fourth Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan at a ceremony held here Monday.

Chief Judge of Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan Raja Jalaluddin administered the oath in the presence of caretaker Prime Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Shahjahan Mir, office bearers of PML-N Gilgit-Baltistan and Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan Shahid Ullah Baig.

Talking to media after taking oath, Barjees Tahir said that his top-most priority would be to maintain law and order situation in the area and facilitation to the caretaker government to hold elections in free, fair and transparent elections.

Brushing aside the criticism on his assuming the office of Governor from opposition parties, Barjees said that people would see for themselves the impartiality on his part as well as the caretaker government in holding the elections in the area in most transparent and impartial fashion.

He further said that during his stay in office, he would also focus on uplifting the stand of life of people of these areas and pledged that the paucity of funds would not be the reason for delay in the ongoing uplift projects in the area.

Barjees said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given direction for completion of the ongoing development projects on war-footing adding that he would be stepping into the office of Governor GB with the spirit to serve the masses and to whip up the development projects facing undue delay.

Sources in the ruling PML-N informed The Nation that the Prime Minister has directed Barjees to remove the hurdles in the way of Diamir-Mir Bhasha dam project assuring availability of maximum funds required for the purpose.

These sources said that under the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment Order 2009 Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs could hold the office of Governor of the area along side ministerial slot.

It is pertinent to mention here that the notification of assigning the additional charge of Governor GB to Ch. Barjees Tahir by President Mamnoon Hussain has not gone well with the major political parties including PPP and PTI, which came up with strong worded criticism on the decision dubbing it a PML-N move to influence the upcoming elections in area.

The leadership of mainstream political parties had also raised serious concern and reservations over the formation of the caretaker cabinet and some of these parties were planning to move the court against the decision.