|File Photo: Khurram Dastigir,|
federal commerce minister
ISLAMABAD: Commerce Minister Khurrum Dastgir Khan on Wednesday said development of new trade route from Gilgit Baltistan (GB) to Tajikistan is need of the hour which will help Pakistan to establish direct road connection with the Central Asia.
"The new trade route will open up new opportunities of enhancing trade with the Central Asian states", he said talking to Chief Minister GB Hajiz Hafeez ur Rehman who called on him here.
He said between Pakistan and Tajikistan there is only a gap of 24 km Afghan bordering area and a new route could be developed from Gilgit through Afghanistan bordering area Vakhan where a jeep track already existed.
He said this route would also be included in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The minister also assured the provision of all possible technical cooperation of the commerce ministry for construction of Gilgit Industrial Zone.
He said the people of GB would benefit from these industrial zones and trade routes.
The minister said the government was committed for the development of road, rail and air links with other countries.
He also informed the CM that according to a research of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), GB has a potential to produce 60,000 MW hydel electricity and work of numerous such projects was ongoing.
He said for Diamir Bhasha Dam, the land acquisition process has been completed and speedy work on the project continued.
Jafarullah, who also survived an attempt on his life four years ago, said at least five groups were involved in the matter and a jirga contacted members repeatedly to bring them to the negotiating table.
“It was a difficult task as many groups were involved,” said the deputy speaker. “One group from Barmas threw the hand grenade, while another from Chilas attacked buses and killed passengers,” said Jafarullah. He added a third group was from Baltistan—the members of which had been killed.
Jafarullah said since the settlement was out of court, the judge of the anti-terrorism court also agreed to dismiss the cases pending before him under the ATA.
The deputy speaker said all parties involved have signed a document to settle the matter and a request was submitted to the court to withdraw the case. “We hope this will be a turning point for lasting peace in G-B,” said Jafarullah who headed the jirga.
Gilgit has a long history of sectarian violence dating back to the early 1970s.