Islamabad: A 19-member delegation of the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly led by Speaker Fida Nashad met Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at Parliament House on Monday.
The Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly members representing five political parties from both the ruling and opposition parties, had requested the meeting to have their perspective on CPEC.
According to press release, in the 2 hours meeting which included a lunch hosted by Senator Mushahid Hussain for the visiting members of the GB Assembly, Senator Mushahid Hussain underlined that the CPEC was a national, strategic project spanning 15 years and this project is above any person, parties, province or even government and all the provinces and regions for Pakistan would benefit through CPEC.
Referring to the important role of Gilgit-Baltistan in the context of Pakistan-China relations, Senator Mushahid Hussain assured the GB Assembly members that Gilgit-Baltistan is very much part of the CPEC because Gilgit-Baltistan is the gateway into Pakistan for China from its province of Xinjiang.
He said that Gilgit-Baltistan was not just of strategic importance but it had tremendous economic potential for the whole region and he said that the hydro power resources of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as infrastructure, tourism can change the face of the region as well as Pakistan as a whole.
He said that Gilgit-Baltistan provides connectivity not only to China but it also provide a connectivity to Central Asia through Tajikistan.
The delegation expressed concern and reservations over what they said have not been included in CPEC by the government to which Senator Mushahid Hussain responded that the Parliamentary Committee had already taken the initiative to invite representative of the GB government to every meeting of the committee as a special invitee after his own meeting with the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman.
Senator Mushahid Hussain said that at a high level consultation convened by the Prime Minister on January 15, it was decided to constitute a high level national steering committee headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan which includes the Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan as well along with Chief Ministers of the 4 provinces.
The members express their deep appreciation to the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC and its Chairman for including them in deliberations in CPEC and invited the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC to visit Gilgit-Baltistan in this regard.
Senator Mushahid Hussain accepted the invitation and said that their perspective would be included in the report of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC.
He said that the Committee represented all the political parties and provinces of Pakistan and Gilgit Baltistan perspective was of great importance not just for CPEC but also for strengthening the federation. The members thanked the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for the hospitality and warm welcome accorded to them.