GILGIT: President Dr Arif Alvi has promised to play his due role for provision of constitutional rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).
After arriving in GB on Wednesday on a four-day visit, he assured the people they would get maximum benefits from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as the region was an important part of the project.
Talking to Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television in Skardu, President Alvi said that GB was one of the most beautiful places in the world and its economy could get a boost from tourism and trade through CPEC.
The government, he said, wanted the people of GB to prosper through trade activities.
Dr Alvi reached Skardu in the morning. Later in the day he flew to the army’s helipad in Jutial Gilgit where he was received by Governor Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon and other officials.
Sources said the governor briefed the president on the socio-economic and political situation in the region.
A delegation comprising GB government functionaries and assembly members — including Speaker Fida Muhammad Nashad, Deputy Speaker Jaffarullah, Minister Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Farman Ali, Fida Khan, Opposition Leader Muhammad Shafi Khan and other opposition and treasury members met President Alvi at a local hotel.
According to the sources, Dr Iqbal informed Dr Alvi that GB had been deprived of its constitutional rights for the last seven decades. The minister added that local people had liberated the region themselves and had annexed it to Pakistan unconditionally.
The GB people, he said, had always thought of being a part of Pakistan but despite the passage of 70 years this dream had not turned into a reality.
The enemies of Pakistan were taking advantage of the situation by exploiting the sense of deprivation among locals and hatching conspiracies against CPEC, Dr Iqbal said, adding that Kashmiri leaders had “always been a hurdle in the provision of GB people’s rights”.
Dr Alvi assured the delegation he would look into the matter upon his return to Islamabad. He promised he would discuss the issue with Prime Minister Imran Khan and review the recommendations of the Sartaj Aziz Committee.
The president, who is accompanied by his family, will visit various areas in the region in the next three days of his trip.
Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018
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