LAHORE - Pakistan Muslim League (PML) President and former Prime Minister Ch Shujaat Hussain and Speaker Punjab Assembly Ch Parvez Elahi in a joint statement said that Gilgit-Baltistan is very important for economy and defence of Pakistan and is a gateway of CPEC.

"This is the reason that Pakistan Muslim League has always given special attention to this region and its people", they said in a meeting with caretaker Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Afzal Khan who called on Chaudhry cousins at their residence on Sunday.

Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Shafay Hussain and GM Sikander were also present in the meeting.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal Khan said that Ch Shujaat Hussain had put forth the demand for an interim provincial status for Gilgit-Baltistan and today this position has been secured as a result of his efforts. He said he was grateful to Pakistan Muslim leadership particularly Ch Shujaat Hussain who had played important role in progress, prosperity and safeguarding the rights of this region.

Emphasising on the dire need for holding a free and fair election in Gilgit-Baltistan, Ch Shujaat Hussain and Ch Parvez Elahi said that all political parties should have a fair opportunity for participating in these elections. "Our party has always recognised the importance of this region because for security, defence and economic growth of Pakistan it has great importance which cannot be ignored in any manner whatsoever", they said.