Lahore, December 21, 2017 (PPI-OT):Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman has invited the private sector to join hands with the government of Gilgit-Baltistan and start flight operation for this area. While talking to the LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Kharar Rashid and Vice President Zeeshan Khalil, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan, he said that Gilgit-Baltistan is abundant with huge opportunities in tourism, energy and infrastructure sectors. He said that PIA operation for Gilgit-Baltistan is not enough to cater to the needs therefore private sector should come forward and avail this opportunity. Former LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali also spoke on the occasion.
He said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has generated lucrative investment opportunities that must be availed by the local investors. Under this project industrial and economic zones are being established which will create ample employment opportunities for the people of this area.
On the energy sector, CM GB said that Gilgit-Baltistan is not linked with the national grid which is the major hurdle of taping the power generation potential. He said that GIZ and WAPDA have identified the potential of 40,900 MW through feasibility reports. He said that establishment of first grid in Gilgit-Baltistan is at tender stage. He said that no serious work had been done in past for Diamir Bhasha Dam but now situation is quite different.
He said that land acquisition for Diamir Bhasha has been completed through transparent way. All record in this regard is available in this regard and a huge amount of Rs. 12 billion is saved through transparency. He said that Diamir Basha, Bujni and Dasu would generate 4500 MW, 7500 MW and 5000 MW of cheap and environment friendly electricity of respectively that would reduce the oil import bill. CM GB said that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif extended laudable help to the government Gilgit-Baltistan in health and education sector. “People of Gilgit-Baltistan are thankful to the taxpayers of Punjab for helping generously”, he concluded.
While talking about the tourism potential, he said that Gilgit-Baltistan is the most wonderful area of the country and has lot of attractions for the tourists. He said that various measures are being taken to tap the vast potential of tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan and focusing this sector for higher economic gain. He said that number of tourists is increasing that is a good sign. He said that apart from tourism, mining, food preservation, the area has a very huge potential for cement and herbal sectors, therefore, the business community should come forward to explore these opportunities that offer a huge dividend.
The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that the region of Gilgit-Baltistan has immense importance in geo-economic and geo-strategic terms. Geographically, Gilgit-Baltistan shares borders in the northeast with China, in the extreme north with Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, in the west with KPK province and in the south and southeast with Azad Kashmir. He said that it is also endowed with vast resources of metallic, non-metallic, energy minerals, precious /dimension stones and different rocks of industrial use. He said that GB is located at the confluence of world great mountain ranges like the Himalaya, Hindukush, Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges, which are considered the high roof of the world.
The LCCI President said that Gilgit-Baltistan has a bright economic future. CPEC is expected to bring an economic transformation in Gilgit-Baltistan because of infrastructure development, construction and hydropower stations. Some mega development projects have already been started. He said that according to the Government of Pakistan, the province of Gilgit-Baltistan has a hydropower potential of 19,000 MW as the Indus River and its six main tributaries pass through this region. This potential can be harnessed if the Government establishes a regional grid in Gilgit-Baltistan to interlink all the power potential sites. It is due to the absence of the national grid that the NEPRA’s jurisdiction has not been extended to Gilgit-Baltistan.
He said that Gilgit-Baltistan also has tremendous potential in tourism. Beautiful landscape, unique cultural heritage and rich biological diversity give the region a competitive advantage in attracting tourists from all over the world. He strongly recommended the business community of the city to tap the investment opportunities available in Gilgit-Baltistan in the hospitality business.
He said owing to its cool, dry climate and availability of water resources, Gilgit-Baltistan has great potential in agriculture. Fruits such as apricots, apples, grapes, pears and pomegranate are widely produced in this region. Dried fruits and nuts are also produced in this region. This region is ideal for growth of temperate fruits and vegetable and has a low insect, disease, and pest population.
Malik Tahir Javaid said that the other sectors in which there is a tremendous potential to invest in Gilgit-Baltistan are food and beverages, healthcare, recreation, travel services, skill development, mineral processing units, hydropower IPPs, handicrafts and retail.
He urged the Government of Pakistan to address the constitutional status needs of the Gilgit-Baltistan according to the wishes of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. They do not have any representation in parliament. It is their demand that they should be declared constitutional citizens of Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan be made a full fledge province. The Government should also make sure that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan reap full benefits from CPEC.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeeshan Khlil called for value addition in precious and semi-precious stone sectors saying that it would give us more foreign exchange. They informed the CM GB that Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is already working on establishment of airline.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan