GILGIT: Scholars in Gilgit-Baltistan on Sunday demanded that health and education sectors in the region should be made a part of the mega infrastructure projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“Obviously CPEC would pass through G-B and people are bound to suffer from dust and other pollutants once the traffic starts flowing through it,” asked Mujahid Shah, a PhD scholar while addressing a seminar in Gilgit on Sunday.
The seminar, titled “CPEC and prospects of development in education and health in G-B”, was organised by Striving Towards Education And Progress (STEP), a local NGO.
Shah said that as the multibillion dollar project is built in the region, it should be accompanied by well-equipped hospitals and doctors to deal with health issues. Furthermore, quality educational institutes should be built which educate locals to take advantage of the growing trade envisioned under CPEC.
“So if health and education concerns of locals are not considered beforehand, it is quite unlikely that locals would benefit from a project that is said to be fate-changer,” said the scholar.
Educationist Syed Zakir said construction of bridges and roads would help boost the economy in the region, but the government must also prioritise human resource development.
“The region should have everything in place before CPEC is fully functional. We need to do this,” Zakir said.
STEP Director Sabir Hussain said that if trained human resource was available, development in G-B could reach new heights. “Otherwise a sense of deprivation will prevail which will not be helpful,” said Hussain, offering his organisation’s services to the government. The seminar was addressed by deputy speaker Jafarullah and Education Minister Ibrahim Sanai, along with the education director, and others.
“The youth of G-B are aware and have an interest in government affairs and we are glad to see that,” Sanai said.
He assured that the regional government was especially focussing on health and education sectors. “Unless we have a healthy and educated nation, we can’t progress.