CPEC will prove to be for­tune changer for GB

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH -

Cur­rency Sell­ing Buy­ing GIL­GIT—The China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) could not only ad­dress Pak­istan’s en­ergy short­fall but also prove to be a for­tune changer for the Gil­git-Baltistan re­gion. The CPEC is a col­lec­tion of projects presently be­ing im­ple­mented at a cost of $46 bil­lion to rapidly ex­pand and up­grade Pak­istani in­fra­struc­ture, as well as deepen and broaden eco­nomic links be­tween Pak­istan and China. The Cor­ri­dor pass­ing through Gil­gitBaltistan in the north to reach the Gwadar port in the south of the coun­try will trans­form the econ­omy and help bridge Pak­istan’s power short­fall.

In his re­cent visit to Gil­git-Baltistan, Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif laid the foun­da­tion stone of a fiber op­tic project, which is part of CPEC. The project will be com­pleted in two years at the cost of Rs 4.4 bil­lion. It will lay an The 820-kilo­me­ter long cable from Rawalpindi to Khun­jerab will pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion route be- tween Pak­istan and China af­ter com­ple­tion. As a re­sult, peo­ple of GB will be the core ben­e­fi­ciary of this project be­cause the re­gion is still de­prived of 3G and 4G and other mod­ern telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

Min­is­ter for Kash­mir Af­fairs and Gil­git-Baltistan Chaudhry Bar­jees Tahir has said that CPEC would bring pros­per­ity in the coun­try, es­pe­cially in Gil­gitBaltistan (GB). Dur­ing a meet­ing with a del­e­ga­tion of Pak­istan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) from GB, the Min­is­ter said, the Cor­ri­dor would be proved as a mile­stone in the his­tory. The min­is­ter said that this project would also pro­mote the tourism in GB, which would ul­ti­mately in the favour of lo­cal pub­lic. He said that the Pak-Army troops would be de­ployed to make Karako­rum High­way safe for the trav­ellers.

Speaker, Gil­git-Baltistan Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, Fida Muham­mad Nashad while talk­ing to APP said, “The CPEC, will boost tourism to the 73,000 sq kilo­me­ters re­gion, which is called a par­adise for moun­taineers and is home to five of the `eight­thou­sanders’(peaks above 8,000 me­ters) as well as more than 50 moun­tains over 7,000 me­ters be­sides be­ing home to the world’s sec­ond high­est peak K2 and the Nanga Par­bat. With the CPEC pass­ing through GB, Afzal a lo­cal busi­ness­man hoped, the route would open busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple of the re­gion. He said that CPEC would be a game-changer for the re­gion be­cause es­tab­lish­ment of one or two eco­nomic zones in the re­gion will surely boost job and busi­ness op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal ed­u­cated youth and busi­ness­men.

Ex­port­ing fruits to China would be more prof­itable, Afzal said,”We can dou­ble our sales, earn more prof­its if we can sell our com­modi­ties to China where cher­ries are very pop­u­lar,” he said. “We ex­port our prod­ucts to Dubai by air, but it would be faster and cheaper if we could send it by road to China via Xin­jiang as peo­ple of Gil­git-Baltistan can get a one-year bor­der pass to travel to China.” Ac­cord­ing to the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB), Gil­git-Baltistan is the pro­ducer of over 100,000 met­ric tons of fresh apri­cots an­nu­ally.

Ab­dul Manan, who owned a farm house and ex­port fresh and dried fruits to Mid­dle East, es­ti­mates that Gil­git-Baltistan is a pro­ducer of 4,000 tons of cher­ries and up to 20,000 tons of ap­ples. De­vel­op­ment con­sul­tant Javaid Ak­bar, who also be­longs to the area, said, “CPEC,will surely bring de­vel­op­ment, pros­per­ity, busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties as far as the peo­ple of the re­gion are con­cerned.”

Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Law and Jus­tice of GB leg­isla­tive Assem­bly Au­rang Zaib Khan said,”The Di­amer-Bhasha dam, which is lo­cated in Gil­git-Baltistan, once com­pleted, it would gen­er­ate 4,500 MW of elec­tric­ity. “Peo­ple of Gil­git-baltistan are fac­ing short­age of elec­tric­ity now-a-days, and com­ple­tion of Di­amer Bhashah will surely min­i­mize the power load­shed­ing in the re­gion.—APP

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