ISLAMABAD - Political parties of Gilgit Baltistan have yesterday expressed concern and reservations for not including GB in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The concern was expressed by a 19-member delegation of the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly, representing both government and Opposition parties, led by Speaker Fida Nashad in a meeting with Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on CPEC here. The delegation expressed reservations over not including Gilgit-Baltistan in the CPEC by the government.

Responding to their concerns, Senator Mushahid Hussain said 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 an All Parties Conference convened by the Prime Minister on January 15, it was decided to constitute a high-level national Steering Committee headed by the Prime Minister which includes the Chief Ministers of all the four provinces and Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan. In the meeting, he 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, the Chairman Committee 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 provides connectivity to Central Asia through Tajikistan.

The members expressed 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.