GILGIT: In the hopes of introducing precious stones to the international market, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Mehdi Shah plans to visit China, sources said on Wednesday.
“The stones found in the mountains of G-B are rare, and if these are introduced to the international market, not only the economy of G-B but also that of the whole country can improve,” said an official.
The delegation, led by the chief minister, will consist of 17-members including some traders who specialise in the buying and selling of gemstones. Officials in Gilgit said that the event is to be held in Kashgar and will be well attended by several international delegations.
The Chief Minister and his delegation are hoping to attract traders. “It will be a good opportunity for the Pakistani delegation to create links with other countries and investors so that they can visit the region and invest in this sector too,” said an official from the G-B commerce and industry.
Precious stones are abundantly found in G-B but the lack of expertise in locating and skillfully extracting them is the biggest hurdle being faced by the local people in the area.
According to experts, more than 60 varieties of gems and stones are found in G-B; Topaz, Quartz, Albite, Apatite, Beryl to name a few.
“Special lectures highlighting the importance of gemstones in the international market and the ways to access the international market will also be delivered during the conference,” officials said.
The economy of G-B is based on the traditional route of trade through the Silk Road. The China Trade Organisation was the leading economic forum through which most of the barter trade activity was made changing in the general economical outlook of the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2010.