China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a mega project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) flagship continues to grow bigger in the country and broaden the visionary horizons of development, energy sectors, and industrialization. CPEC seeks the positive changes in the Pakistan that includes the development of the underprivileged places like Gwadar in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan and forming several Special Economic Zones (SEZs) within the region.

As predicted by the current government PTI, the granting of provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, the gateway to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), would ensure the success of the multi-billion-dollar corridor, as well as the opening of new investment opportunities in the strategically located northern part of the country which will be another turnaround for the CPEC and the country.

These opinions were shared by GB legislators and members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the Gilgit Chamber of Small Industry, the Hunza Chamber of Commerce, and the Nagar Chamber of Commerce during a joint press conference organized by the National Press Club on Monday and have put forward the visionary ideology to create Gilgit-Baltistan a new province.

Addressing the press conference, FPCCI Vice President and GB Excise and Taxation Minister Muhammad Ali Qaid said that granting GB constitutional provincial status would make it easier for foreign investors to invest in GB who were reluctant to invest due to the current disputed status of the region. “The provisional provincial status of GB would ensure success for CPEC, as a number of already approved/ planned mega-projects under CPEC have been awaiting foreign investment.” He said that the provisional provincial status would not have an effect on the Kashmir issue and the status quo, as GB would have been able to participate in the Kashmir plebiscite in the sense of the proposed reforms at any time.

Showing a collection of resolutions passed by the GB Legislative Assembly, he said that the unanimous resolutions of the Assembly calling for provincial status are proof of the demand of the citizens of GB who have been deprived of their due rights for the past 73 years. “We are grateful to the government, the political parties, and the Pakistan Army for their decision to meet the demands of the people of GB.

He recalled that in 1947 the people of GB liberated the entire area from Dogras and unilaterally joined Pakistan. “You have all gained independence and formed your independent state there, but we have offered unselfish love and an ideological relationship with Pakistan,” he added, “We are considered Pakistani and now we want to be part of Pakistan – constitutionally, and the time has come for Gilgit-Baltistan to be Pakistan’s fifth province.”

Addressing the meeting, members of the various chambers of commerce of GB also called for the early granting of provincial constitutional status to GB. They said there was no resistance to GB being given provincial status, and the government of Pakistan should take immediate action now. “In addition, there is no justification in the claim that granting Gilgit-Baltistan constitutional rights will damage the Kashmir cause,” said Muhammad Qaid of the Nagar Chamber of Commerce, adding, “We stand with the Kashmir people for the Kashmir cause, and I believe that the people of Kashmir also want to see that our people have their rights.”

The provision of the provincial status to the Gilgit Baltistan will bring positive influence to the underprivileged people of the area and this will bring a wave of joy and favors like the seats in Senate and National Assembly. CPEC will also pave way for the greatness by doing this and the industrialization and energy sector of Pakistan will be strengthened.

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