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China- Pak Economic Corridor and its implications for Gilgit-Baltistan

By Muhammad Panah

The relationship between Hunza and the Peoples Republic of China is deep rooted, dating back to the time when Hunza was a princely state. For hundreds of years, the people of Hunza have acted as the first line of defense against the former Soviet Union and Afghanistan besides catalyzing the friendly relation between Pakistan and China.

Historical accounts suggest that then people of Hunza State and its rulers managed cross-border relations with strong state diplomacy. Even though Hunza was an autonomous state, with its envoy stationed in China, yet it depended on China for a number of reasons, so it remained regular taxpayer to China for several decades. Today, Pakistan has good ties with China, thanks to then rulers of Hunza who remained peaceful and made the border a symbol of friendship and peace rather than acrimony. When Pakistani democratic government dissolved Hunza State in 1974, all diplomatic powers were shifted to Islamabad from Hunza.

The Chinese president’s recent, historical visit to Pakistan is considered a game-changer, with the initiation of a sustainable economic era. The Pak-China Economic Corridor is Pakistan’s fortune-changer, but sadly the most important stakeholder has been left out of the huge project. Gilgit-Baltistan, a region deprived of fundamental rights and through which the CPEC would pass, has been given little say in the project.

Along with trade corridor other multibillion-mega projects agreement have been signed in the sectors of economic and energy development. In the celebrity celebration of no G.B constitutional cabinet members are again constantly ignored despite to knowing the realities that Gilgit-Baltistan is the gateway of Pak- China relation and more than 600 kilometers KKH route cross over this territory.

“In china highest income generator is regarded winner and revenue generation from foreign is considered hero”, on this revenue generating strategic approach  China has connected railway line from central Asian 1990 for the easiest transportation oil and gas to the country. For this regard China constructed 761km long distance pipe line from Kazakhistan by China National Petroleum Cooperation (CNPC) to reservoir of oil and gas to manufacture variety of domestic and international stander products to use its cheapest labors cost. In the second target of China republic is supply its products to Europe and USA through China-Pak economic corridor.

G.B allied with Pakistan without any certain agreement because of religion belief and brotherhood but it causes much political right discrimination from that day. Federal government is gain used to away Gilgit-Baltistan from the biggest agreement on Pak-China trade corridor. It would be first democratic struggle for regional leaderships to get maximum advantage for the G.B economic development through this big agreement. Inhabitants of the region are more curious to know!

– What is  Gilgit-Baltistan stake pre and post construction of the trade corridor?

– What will be the economic benefit for the Gilgit-Baltistan from the economic trade corridor?

– What will be key administrative roles for Gilgit-Baltistan to implement the project?

– What will be the special quota for the employment sector for Gilgit-Baltistan in the biggest project?

– Does G.B elected government and opposition leadership are being ever viewed the pre and revised agreements of Pak-China trade corridor whether it address the economic challenges of G.B or not?   

However it is very important for leaderships to restructure practices rather than to get federal government sympathy and appreciation. It is the time for the political figures to work in a real essence of political domain to seek and address the fundamental rights.

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