CPEC to cause unemployment in Gilgit-Baltistan

Published: November 16, 2015
People of G-B are concerned about their future as the federal government has not given any concrete assurance. PHOTO: ONLINE

People of G-B are concerned about their future as the federal government has not given any concrete assurance. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: The much-publicised China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) may benefit many, but it will render more than 10,000 people of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) jobless once the existing dry port is relocated from Sost in G-B to Havelian in Hazara division of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

There is no industry in the whole of G-B and more than 10,000 people are associated with the Sost dry port including businessmen, transporters, hoteliers and other people, whose livelihood is directly and indirectly linked with the port.

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The people of G-B are concerned about their future as the federal government has not given any concrete assurance in black and white for establishing economic zones in the region to compensate the people.

At present, trucks and containers loaded in China are off-loaded at the Sost dry port for customs clearance, which automatically generates economic activities for local traders, labourers, transporters and trade agents.

It is stated that unlike the existing situation, under the CPEC, all the containers and trucks will be loaded in any city of China and then off-loaded at Havelian and there will be no activity at the Sost port.

CPEC- a window of opportunity for Pakistan

“Livelihood of thousands of families of Gilgit-Baltistan is linked with the Sost dry port and it would be an economic disaster for them if existing activities are shifted to the newly proposed dry port at Havelian,” said G-B Chamber of Commerce and Industry former president Javed Hussain. “We will not allow the project to materialise if our concerns are not addressed.”

Former speaker of G-B Legislative Assembly Wazir Baig said, “We are not clear about the benefits of the CPEC we will get, but we are much certain about the adverse effects due to relocation of the dry port,” he noted.

On the flip side

Commenting on the concern, CPEC Project Director Zahir Shah said no relocation of the Sost dry port is on the cards as far as the corridor is concerned.

CPEC takes centre stage at K-P Assembly

He said it is premature to say that the Sost port will be redundant once the CPEC project is implemented because long-term planning and negotiations are under way. “As far as I know, it would be more vibrant once the project is completed,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources said the land that had been acquired for the dry port in Havelian belongs to some key influential politicians and they are influencing the government to shift the dry port.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Nov 17, 2015 - 1:00AM

    Relocating Sost dry port will bring many challenges to CPEC. Gilgit-Baltistan is already striving for the constitutional Right and this might be hike up protests and can be a big threat for the prosperity of GB.The Govt of Pakistan should stop behaving ill-treat and neglect the people of the GB like a step-child. Recommend

  • Woz ahmed
    Nov 17, 2015 - 1:59AM

    Does anyone know what the volume of overland trade between Pakistan and China is ? Number of teu’s, value etc ?

    Sost should not worry , economic wealth will radiate from Punjab and benefit all.Recommend

  • Sceptic
    Nov 17, 2015 - 9:54AM

    Where does this figure of 10,000 comes from? It appears highly exaggerated. Even Sost’s population is not 10,000.
    If dry port related opportunities are evaporating, CPEC traffic will generate other employment opportunities for Sost. Tourism and other commercial activities will thrive.Recommend

  • Shaukat ali
    Nov 17, 2015 - 10:34AM

    GB people are rightfully worried, and the first commentator is right. We better accommodate all those at danger of losing their jobs, and find ways to create economic prosperity in GB otherwise their resentment can grow exponentially and they will feel like joining India.Recommend

  • Khan
    Nov 17, 2015 - 12:08PM

    what a sensationalist headline? 10,000 people jobless in sust? Sust doesn’t have that many people. And upgraded infrastructure will allow economic activity in the area. And as the rest of pakistan develops and gets richer from the new infrastructure and electricity, the local tourist industry will get a major boost from a larger pakistani middle class. Recommend

  • Fawad khan
    Nov 17, 2015 - 1:38PM

    And one million people will find new jobs. Why don’t you talk about them.Recommend

  • Usman
    Nov 17, 2015 - 3:32PM

    @Khan: Completely agree. GB people are hardworking and patriotic and any insinuation of them supporting India is ludicrous. These empty threats can no longer work. Prosperity of Pakistan will equal prosperity of each and every region of Pakistan. We must learn this lesson if we are to move forward as a nation.Recommend

  • Nov 17, 2015 - 3:54PM

    Mr Sceptic, for ur clrafcation and kind info, not only People of SUST, people from whole GB are busy in economical activities there from last 2 decades. Recommend

  • shrude businessmen
    Nov 17, 2015 - 5:21PM

    Chinese have shown the world they are shrude businessmen…One thing is for sure…Chinese will be the ultimate main beneficiary and will keep gaining throughout…Everybody else can keep dreaming of economic prosperity. Time will prove that Pakistan Banega Chinatown.Recommend

  • Aamir Ali Rana
    Nov 17, 2015 - 6:22PM

    We as GB since independence are not given constituitional rights that means a legal status of pakistans province. When it comes to exploit our resources and our land then pakistan makes promises that are not even translated into reality at all. Still we are a disputed territory after proving our loyality and patriotism everytime for pak. Paki leaders only care about their profits. In sost dry port people from all GB have their associations and business. Population of sost is not that much itself but people went there from all regions of GB to work and earn their livelihood. Pakistan should address these issues very critically otherwise we have our own alternative thoughts. We do not have a single medical and engineering university at all and many other instituitions that are fundamental for any area to develop. If pakistan is not ready to give our rights then other countries are very much inerested in GB. Act before it is too late.Recommend

  • someone
    Nov 17, 2015 - 9:34PM

    @Aamir Ali Rana:
    Compare your situation to Jammu and Kashmir in India where there are at least 7 engineering colleges and 4 medical colleges. These false promises of Pakistan would keep your generation to come backward.Recommend

    Nov 18, 2015 - 2:06AM

    Very rightfully said . The decision of moving the dry port out of GB will deprive the people of GB from the economic benefits of the project, who are already denied representation in the decision making body of CPEC. the ones who point out the population of Sost have never been to the sost port in the first place. Majority of people working in Sost dry port are not from Sost, they are from other regions of Gilgit-Baltistan. so the population of sost is irreverent here. Just for a clarify my house is 10 miles from the port and yes I have been there many times.Recommend

  • Zahid Khan
    Nov 18, 2015 - 5:28PM

    gilgit baltistan is illegally occupied
    we will fight for our rightsRecommend

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