ISLAMABAD: Gilgit-Baltistan Expressway costing Rs82 billion would be the highest road in the world and bring economic revolution in the entire region, announced Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman while talking to PTV News.
“An expressway costing Rs50 billion from Gilgit to Skardu will facilitate people of G-B and another from Islamabad to G-B needing capital injection of Rs82 billion will be constructed under the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor),” he said.
“The proposed Shonter-Astore road will reduce the distance between Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and G-B by several hundred kilometres and also cut travel time between the two regions,” he added.
Moreover, the road linkage projects will not only boost trade activities in the G-B region but will also help carry agricultural produce of the area to various parts of the country.
Praising the federal government for supporting the region, Rahman said the prime minister had approved projects worth billions of rupees to bring the region on a par with the rest of the country.
“All the imported machinery for G-B will be tax-free, which is another great incentive from the government,” he added. “CPEC will not only help us in solving the long-standing energy issue but will also help develop road infrastructure and information technology systems.”
He told the audience that the governments of Xinjiang and G-B had a protocol agreement according to which people from both sides enjoyed visa-free travel.
“An international standard airport will also be established in Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2016.