GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister Mehdi Shah has promised foolproof security and a conducive environment for investment if Chinese businessmen turn to G-B.
“I invite the business community of China to visit G-B, which has immense potential, and explore avenues for investment,” Mehdi Shah told an official Chinese delegation in Kashgar, China, according to a statement issued from the CM’s Secretariat.
Shah, accompanied by several other members of his cabinet, is on an official visit to China to explore business opportunities for G-B.
This is Shah’s fourth visit to China since he assumed office in 2010. “The Pak-China friendship is exemplary but we need to further expand it,” said Shah, referring to the proposed railway track that will pass through G-B to connect China with Gwadar.
The statement said Shah also proposed revising the two-day weekend to a one-day weekend for customs and other government offices to further the interest of traders in Pakistan.
In response to Shah’s propositions, a delegation of Chinese businessmen will visit G-B this year, it added.
While the CM’s visit attracted fierce criticism from opposition parties—more so after clashes between two groups of Nurbakhshiyas led to dozens injured and arrested in Baltistan—the trip was termed a success by Minister for Minerals Muhammad Naseer. “I am pretty sure the visit will prove successful and the people in China will take [the offers] seriously,” Naseer told journalists in Gilgit.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th,2014.