Islamabad: Protests smeared the maiden ceremony of Pak-China Economic Corridor Council held in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Senator Talha Mehmood and his friends organized the ceremony at a 5 star hotel in the federal capital, according to a report in the Daily K2. Dr. Zaman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Gilgit-Baltistan reportedly triggered the protest by raising slogans against the federal government for what he alleged was “maligning the most important stakeholder (Gilgit-Baltistan) of the Pak-China Economic Corridor.”
A large number of political actors from several political parties of Gilgit-Baltistan participated in the council’s inaugural ceremony, including Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) Mr. Wazir Baig, interim Minister of Local Government Mr. Qalb Ali, Raja Shahbaz Khan, Ghazanfar Ali Khan of Pakistan Muslim League (N), and a large number of former members of GBLA. Businessmen from GB and KPK, representatives from the GB Chamber of Commerce and other professionals were also present in the ceremony.
Dr. Zaman disputed the program and blasted the program organizers for what he said was “not giving importance to PTI leaders in a ceremony pertaining to a project that is most important for future of GB.” He announced boycott of the ceremony on behalf of PTI GB chapter. Dr. Zaman’s protest led other political actors to join him, including Mr. Wazir Baig and several other former ministers of GBLA.
It is pertinent to mention here that Mr. Talha Mehmood, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, and Chief Minister of Balochistan Mr. Abdul Malik Baloch, and China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Sung Weidong occupied the four seats placed on the stage in the ceremony hall respectively.
Sen. Talha Mehmood jumped in to calm the protestors, saying GB would be given representation on the stage.
Mr. Ghazanfar Ali Khan was then called to occupy a seat on the stage. He urged the federal government to listen to the concerns of the people of GB. Mr. Wazir Baig also addressed the ceremony and thanked the protestors for forcing the federal government into listening to the people of GB. He also criticized the federal government for what he said was “disregarding GB in the Pak-China Economic Corridor project.”
No concrete discussions and recommendations were made as to what benefits the project entails for GB how could the region reap those benefits.