Gilgit Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister Muhammad Khalid Khurshid said that the projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be timely completed meeting the expectations of the population who felt deprived during the previous years in the development process.
He was speaking at an event titled "Regional Dialogue on the Role of Parliament in Promoting Trade, Agriculture and Tourism under CPEC" held here on Friday. The event highlighted CPEC projects and the potential of G-B for economic outreach in the areas of trade, tourism, agricultural minerals and mines under CPEC.
The G-B chief minister said the projects such as the Raikot-Thakot Bypass and Gilgit - Chitral-Shandur Expressway would open new avenues of development and investment for the people besides promoting tourism. He said the tourism sector was the top priority as it would generate revenue similar to other tourist destinations in the world.
He said the power sector also had huge potential adding that if water resources were properly tapped, the energy crises could be ended and we would be able to export it to neighboring countries. He said G-B was confronting seasonal challenges and connectivity, adding that multiple interconnectivity routes were needed for uninterrupted communications.
Addressing the dialogue session, G-B Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmad said despite huge potential for power generation, no tangible project was initiated in G-B. If the government would make serious efforts, fuel crises in the region could be addressed. "The climate change in wake of CPEC should be addressed on priority and the prime minister has taken keen interest to combat climate change issues," he added.
He said the G-B was the hub for freshwaters and timely measures were needed to combat with rising challenges of the environment. He proposed to finance the 100MW Gilgit KIU Hydropower Project and 80MW Phandar Power Project through CPEC.
Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Sher Ali Arbab said the committee had come to Gilgit to address the issues pertaining to CPEC. He said the purpose of visiting Gilgit was to push the CPEC projects and address various issues that needed support from the Parliament.
He said the committee would take all the recommendations from the dialogue and present them at the upcoming CPEC event in Islamabad at the national level. He said serious efforts would be made to address the issues faced by the Gilgit government and that was the reason the CPEC committee planned to visit Gilgit.
Jochen Hippler from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) also addressed the event while Hamayoun Khan from FES was moderating the session.
The dialogue was attended by the members of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, Minister for excise and taxation, Zakat, Usher and cooperative department, senior minister for industries, trade, commerce and youth affairs, Minister for tourism, culture and sports, Minister for agriculture, Minister for water and power, Minister for local government and rural development, academia, industrialists, progressive farmers, international organizations, chamber of commerce, tour operators, senior government officials, media and civil society amongst others.
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