GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday to urge the federal government to set up two economic zones in the region.
The resolution, which was tabled by opposition lawmaker Rizwan Ali, also pressed the government to include G-B in the consultative committee which is working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The route for the $46 billion mega development project will pass through the region.
“The route is going to pass through G-B,” Ali said. “It is only fair that the region must also reap benefits from the project. This is only possible if economic zones are established.”
Speaker Fida Muhammad Nashad approved the resolution. A copy of the resolution will be forwarded to the federal government for consideration.
G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman, who arrived in Gilgit on Wednesday morning from Islamabad, told the house Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has doubled the quota for the number of students from G-B in Punjab’s engineering colleges. Shahbaz also vowed to provide free medicine for those who were affected by flash floods across the region.
A day earlier, the house had adopted a resolution demanding G-B be granted the status of a province under the Constitution. The resolution was tabled by Pakistan Peoples Party’s only representative in the assembly Imran Nadeem and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen’s Rizwaz Ali.
The resolution was adopted with a majority vote. However, Nawaz Khan Naji, a nationalist leader, opposed the resolution, saying G-B was a disputed territory and could not be made a “constitutional province” till the Kashmir issue is resolved.
Similarly, the assembly unanimously passed a resolution condemning Mutahidda Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain for using derogatory language against the armed forces. The resolution demanded the repatriation and trial of the self-exiled leader in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2015.