• Friday, November 22, 2019

Featured CPEC And Its Benefits To Gilgit Baltistan

Discussion in 'CPEC' started by WAJsal, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. WAJsal

    WAJsal MODERATOR

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    Please note: It's nothing serious and not a long write-up on my part, i know i have missed some important topic. I have taken most of the content of the internet and have made sure to provide a source. And also note that, i am speaking in context of this region. Which also includes AJK. AJK and GB will equally benefit a lot from CPEC. It is supposed to be an informative and exciting read(hopefully). I have not looked to counter any conspiracy theories.
    And as always, any suggestions are welcome. Please point out any mistakes.
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    CPEC and it’s benefits to GB
    BY: @WAJsal
    Published on Pakistan Defense


    [​IMG]
    The Karakoram mountain range, Astore Valley. — Photo by Najeeb Mahmud


    Gilgit-Baltistan, also known as ‘The Jewel of Pakistan’...and rightly so, the region holds some of the most breath-taking views in the world, from the highest peaks in the world and the most number of glaciers in the world, to the most magnificent lakes in the world. Apart from the beauty, the region holds significant strategic importance, it borders Pakistan with China and will act as a gateway for the rest of Pakistan once China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor is completed.
    The strategic importance of the region is a historic one, considering : Gilgit-Baltistan was a part of Jammu and Kashmir princely state before partition, and on March 29, 1935, the British government took possession of Gilgit Agency from the state government, through a lease agreement for 60 years; reasons being The British feared of the Soviet expansionist moves, and therefore wanted to have direct control in the region. [1]
    The strategic location of the region allows Pakistan to have a direct link with China. Karakoram Highway was built in 1979, it took about 20 years to be fully completed starting in 1959 and open to traffic in 1979. The Karakoram Highway or the KKH will play a key role in China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor, being the starting point of the great vision and the project.
    To be built over the next several years, the 3,218 kilometre route will connect Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region to the port of Gwadar. Currently, nearly 80 per cent of China’s oil is transported by ship from the Strait of Malacca to Shanghai, a distance of more than 16,000 km, with the journey taking between two to three months. But once Gwadar begins operating, the distance would be reduced to less than 5,000 km. KKH was to be realigned, and the existing network to be grown and perfected. Number of Tunnels, bridges and new roads have already been completed.

    More details here: KKH Realignment: 94% work on the project completed so far, remaining to be completed by Sep. 25 this year


    New projects are also in construction process:
    Gilgit-Baltistan Expressway costing Rs82 billion would be the highest road in the world and bring economic revolution in the entire region, announced Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman.
    “An expressway costing Rs50 billion from Gilgit to Skardu will facilitate people of G-B and another from Islamabad to G-B needing capital injection of Rs82 billion will be constructed under the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor),” he said.
    “The proposed Shonter-Astore road will reduce the distance between Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and G-B by several hundred kilometres and also cut travel time between the two regions,” he added. [2]

    [​IMG]

    Highlighted in red is the route of National Highway 35, which is to be completely rebuilt and upgraded under the CPEC agreement. Highlighted in blue is the 175 kilometre road between Gilgit and Skardu which is to be upgraded to a 4-lane highway. (Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karakoram_Highway#/media/File:KKHReconstructions.png)


    It is also planned to make a rail link between Pakistan and China, which is a part of second phase of CPEC, and it is to be completed in 2018-2022.

    [​IMG]

    Karakoram Highway route map. The Khunjerab Railway is set to travel a similar route to the pre-existing Karakoram Highway.

    Land of opportunities

    Being a tourism paradise CPEC is expected to boost the tourism industry in Pakistan, especially in Gilgit-Baltistan. The region is considered to be a mountaineer’s paradise, since it is home to five of the ‘eight-thousanders’ (peaks above 8,000 metres), as well as more than 50 mountains over 7,000 metres. It is also home to the world’s second highest peak K2 and the Nanga Parbat. [3]

    [​IMG]

    The mighty Nanga Parbat soars high in the first light of the sun. —Photo by Ghulam Rasool


    With improving security situation in the rest of the country and better infrastructure, this industry is expected to grow. Tourism plays a vital part for the locals in the region, most families are solely dependent on tourists. Tourism industry has never reached the potential it can mainly due to the poor infrastructure present and worsening security situation in the country. But in recent times this industry has improved and with more importance given to this sector things are expected to get better. And with CPEC going through the region, it is expected to attract more tourists.

    “For a few years now, between 10,000 and 20,000 tourists would visit GB each year but in 2015, over 600,000 people visited GB and this year, it is expected that around one million people will travel to GB,” GB Tourism Secretary Jehanzeb Awan. [4]

    Apart from the tourism industry a large chunk of the population relies on agriculture to support their living. Fruits of all sorts and dry fruits are a big part of this industry, this industry too has never really reached it potential. CPEC is bound to improve many basic thing stopping this industry from booming.

    Hopes
    [​IMG]


    Apples of Hunza...


    With the CPEC passing through Gilgit-Baltistan, Salman hopes the route will open business opportunities for the region's traders.

    Diverting fruit to China will be more profitable, for one, will be more profitable. “We can double our sales and profits if we can sell to China where cherries are very popular," Momin said.

    [​IMG]

    Cherries grown in Hunza, Ghizer and other districts are popular exports to China. —Photo by Ghulam Rasool


    Currently, he ships his produce to Dubai through air-cargo. "It would be faster and cheaper if we could send it by road to China via Xinjiang as we can get a one-year border pass to travel within that border," Salman explained.

    According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Gilgit-Baltistan produces over 100,000 metric tonnes of fresh apricots annually. While there are no official surveys, Zulfiqar Momin, who heads Farm House Pvt Ltd., which exports fresh and dried fruits to the Middle East, estimates that Gilgit-Baltistan produces up to 4,000 tonnes of cherries and up to 20,000 tonnes of apples.

    “All fruits grown in Gilgit-Baltistan are organic with no pesticides used,” Momin said. [3]

    [​IMG]

    Hunzakut women drying apricots in the Garelt village, Hunza river valley, with Mt Rakaposhi in the background.



    That is not enough...According to the ADB, Gilgit-Baltistan has the potential to produce nearly 50,000MW of energy. Just Bunji Dam, a run-of-the-river project that the ADB has invested in, has the capacity to generate up to 7,100MW electricity when completed. [4]

    “By building hydropower projects, Pakistan can sell clean energy to China and even use it for itself, the development consultant said. "If Bhutan can sell to India, why can’t we sell to China?” Hunzai pointed out that the Chinese already taking the country’s national grid to its border province.

    However, the government is almost ready to revive the Diamer-Bhasha dam, a gravity dam on the Indus river in Gilgit-Baltistan, in the second phase of CPEC. Once completed, it is estimated to generate 4,500MW of electricity, besides serving as a huge water reservoir for the country.

    The region has the potential to solve the load-shedding problems in the country which has been hurting the industrial sector along with general population for years.

    Things to improve and to look out for...

    Putting aside all the conspiracy theories and how the CPEC is bound to destroy local industry in Pakistan, or that Chinese will colonize regions like CPEC. Merily giving a notice to these theories is a sheer waste of one's time. While in actuality CPEC is bound to improve the lives of locals, especially in regions in GB. Region far less developed and developed, same change is expected in regions like Balochistan, KPK and FATA.

    Once basic infrastructure facilities improve, it is bound to improve socio-economic situation of the people. As the tourists numbers increase locals are bound to profit from it, and it is can also play a key role in Pakistan's economy in coming years. As raw products reach better market swiftly, due to improved transport. This sector is also expected to do better than it has ever done before.

    A factor to look out for is that, CPEC is expected to generate thousands of jobs for the locals. Just about 50,000 jobs will be generated in Gwadar, which a decade ago was a just small-fishing village. [6]

    CPEC is expected to be a ‘game-changer’ for Pakistan, and especially for regions like Baluchistan, GB, KPK and FATA...One thing we need to realize is that better infrastructure alone cannot solve major problems of Pakistan, work needs to be done to improve education structure in the country and improve basic facilities for people. Improvement on Health facilities, along with educational infrastructure is a need for regions like GB.

    One of the important things to adress is that local population of GB demands constitutional and political rights, and have long been raising their voices for these right. Continuous ignorance of these demands may lead to a sense of deprivation and may create more problems in future…

    Mr Raees said GB was central to the CPEC project, but unfortunately the people had totally been neglected. “The federal government has also ignored the demand of the GB people that their representatives should be given representation in the parliament of Pakistan.” [7]

    Most of the local reservations have long been resolved but one demands remains to be resolved, but some development has happened on this front too. Government is expected to give the region it’s due constitutional status and political representation in National Assembly and Senate. [8]

    The next step
    [​IMG]

    Students attend the morning assembly at Hasegawa Memorial Public School and College in Karimabad, Pakistan.


    Gilgit-Baltistan has the potential to be Pakistan’s ‘real Shangri-la’. It has a high literacy rate, and in some areas literacy rate is in the 90’s. It is most definitely not facing the rest of the country has unfortunately had to face, the security situation have never really deteriorated like the rest of the country. And even the usual social problems a society faces are in very low number. There are few areas in the world like Hunza...Once a hardscrabble Himalayan town where residents barely had enough to eat, now a beacon of inspiration for the rest of the world.

    Visitors to the stunningly beautiful valley, towered over by five snowcapped mountains, sometimes feel as if they are standing at the edge of the Earth — or, maybe, at the centre of it.

    Either way, they often don’t feel as if they are in Pakistan, a country that struggles with poverty, pollution, Islamist militancy and a lacklustre education system, especially for women. [9]

    Many parents in the valley say that if they had to choose, they would send their daughters to school over their sons. Nearly all families own at least a small plot of land. Residents say they cannot remember the last murder in the valley. And unlike in other parts of Pakistan, streams are not polluted with plastic bags, human waste and decaying appliances.

    A World Bank study published last year concluded that female literacy in parts of the Hunza Valley had reached 90 per cent. “When I was in school, few could even speak English,” said Javed Ali, 41, manager of Karimabad’s Hill Top Hotel. “Now, everyone speaks it fluently.” From settlements at an elevation as high as 9,000ft, children walk up to three miles into the valley to get to school each morning.

    After middle school, some female students enroll in the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School for Girls, which teaches only maths and science. Nearly all graduates go on to college, according to Zahra Alidad, the principal and a graduate of the school. [9]

    “When you have communities improving their own lives and obtaining education, it prevents easy manipulation of communities and allows them to be resilient against external forces,” Mr Walji said.

    If there can be communities which solely rely on local charity groups, and education to improve their lives. One can only imagine what proper attention given to such a rich place can lead to. This is a thought we must all build on and take inspiration from, and look to imply this simple method in the rest of the country.


    [1] Gilgit-Baltistans Liberation

    [2] G-B Expressway to be the highest in world

    [3] China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A boon for the economy, a bane for locals

    [4]‘A million tourists expected in GB this year’

    [5] Potential of renewable energies in Pakistan

    [6] 50,000 JOBS TO BE GENERATED IN GWADAR

    [7]Is there Room for Improvement in CPEC Implementation in GB?

    [8] Pakistan mulls elevating status of Gilgit-Baltistan on Chinese insistence

    [9] Hunza Valley: Pakistan's 'real Shangri-La' is a world free from militant Islamists, poverty, pollution and a lacklustre education system
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  2. WAJsal

    WAJsal MODERATOR

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  3. anant_s

    anant_s SENIOR MEMBER

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    Tanks for tag @WAJsal

    Isolated regions like Gilgit Baltistan do not enjoy fruits of economic growth like other regions. Being located in difficult topography, projects like CPEC will bring in unprecedented growth for region.

    First (as you have mentioned) is improved road (& possibly rail) connectivity will allow faster movement of goods and services in the region. Fresh produce can now be shifted to consumption centers quickly, which will not only allow people to enjoy regional produce but also enable producers get access to a larger market and better income, something that is bound to show reflection in per capita income of the region in years to come.

    Second, large infra projects like these bring in industry and associated requirement of skills. this will give opportunity to local population a chance to develop these skills by formal or vocational education/training. I'm expecting development of education system in technical areas and skill development, as a result.

    Third, the trained working group will find more opportunities to work in their own area rather than having to move from GB to other parts of Pakistan. This will help in general development of area, in terms of social facilities like health care.

    Immediate benefits from such projects may not be visible in short term but from long term view, these projects bring in huge amount of development, prosperity and general peace.
    I wish people of GB region good wishes and a great future.
     
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  4. Chinese-Dragon

    Chinese-Dragon PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Fantastic read @WAJsal, it really seems like GB is like a paradise on Earth. :cheers:

    And it seems so close to China as well, since it's right across the border. But it's actually thousands of kilometers away from my hometown HK lol.
     
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  5. Kambojaric

    Kambojaric SENIOR MEMBER

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    GB is the heart of CPEC, quite simply because without it there would no link between Pakistan and the worlds second largest economy. Positive times lie ahead for the region and I wish that the Pakistani establishment realizes how imperative it is to integrate the region fully with Pakistan as per the wishes of the regions people.
     
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  6. Side-Winder

    Side-Winder STAFF

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    Wonderful, Very well written and compiled - I've shared the thread on PDF FB page.
    @WAJsal
     
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  7. shah1398

    shah1398 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Master piece by @WAJsal . Who else can better state on ground situation and future prospects of a project other than a local of that area. Salutes.
     
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  8. django

    django ELITE MEMBER

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    Excellent article and their is not much I can add as you have eloquenlty dealt with the major issues though just one point I would like to make, the government needs to take care of these ghouls in the Chilas area, the rail line passes through this area ,I would not want to see CPEC get hijacked by these thugs, is the government taking the appropriated steps to deal with these animals?Kudos
     
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  9. saiyan0321

    saiyan0321 SENIOR MEMBER

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    An amazing piece @WAJsal as it has been cleared that two regions are bound to profit from this corridor. The sea line having Baluchistan and the border holding area of gilgit baltistan. The importance of these Two regions cannot be understated in this corridor which also highlights the threat level by those who want it to fail.

    I am glad you have highlighted tourism and energy capabilities of gilgit baltistan. The beauty of pakistan is that each province has the capability of being the back bone of the economic strength of the entire nation. Such is the potential of this over 800000 km² territory possesses. Gilgit holds the key to energy and tourism and with the sites in gilgit, Pakistan can build a powerful economy based upon tourism alone and it is a fact bcz, as I have mentioned before, heaven on earth is not in Switzerland or Finland but in gilgit baltistan. Those that have not seen it, have not lived and are missing the beauty of planet earth.

    One must stress is the loyalty of the people of gilgit baltistan. They, to this day, have no mention in the constitution of pakistan and have zero representation in national assembly and only got provincial assembly 7 years ago!! Yet they never cease to believe in pakistan and the flag. Where others faltered and doubted they stood firm and loyal. A salute to the people of gilgit baltistan and a reminder to the govt yo immediately provide them national representation so that our brothers can enjoy the say they deserve in national affairs and we truly integrate them into Pakistan.


    The northern areas provide a strong access to China which can be used to enter central Asia as well as Russia due to the closeness of Russian Chinese relations.

    The thing is we tap into the potential then its endless but that would require will power and effort.

    I must also highlight the infrastructural development of gilgit baltistan is also the need of the moment since we are coming out of terrorism, looking towards a bright future and we need to use this time to take all our brothers with us. Azad kashmir, GB and fata.
     
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  10. Kabira

    Kabira ELITE MEMBER

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    Gilget should be made in to province and represented in national assembly. Rest of the Pakistan will be busy in 2018 elections campaigns while they will feel kind of left out despite being patriotic Pakistanis. Their population is 3 million, they deserve 6 seats in national assembly.
     
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  11. Tipu7

    Tipu7 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Visiting both these regions is one of my dream yet to materialize.
    During my university days, I and my group was pretty popular among ''Gilgiti people'' living in Hostel. We used to discuss General behavior of people, social interaction, religious issues, demography of North Pakistan, little bit history and future of region in focus of CPEC etc etc

    So wishes and people experience apart, what most important is the Strategic importance of Gilgit-Baltistan. There are atleast three major events in past during which GB became focal point for Indo Pak hostility.

    Firstly Indian claim, that GB as part of Kashmir and along with Azad Kashmir they consider GB as disputed territory. We need to remember that back in early 60s Pakistan & China resolved their border issues when Pakistan gave up portion of Gilgit agency via Shaksgam agreement, India criticized it a lot and tried to dissolve the agreements between Pakistan and India related to Kashmir issue.In Fact India started calling GB as ''Atoot Aung'' during that era.

    Second in times when Karakarom highway was constructed and road link was developed between Pakistan and China. India that time turned Siachen into battle ground and claimed Siachen as her territory. Interestingly India remained silent about her Siachen claim for 30 years. Once Karakarom highway was constructed, India ignited an issue possibly in an attempt to pose threat to Karakorm highway hence hence to entire North Pakistan.

    Third was during late 80s when India started to conduct Exercise Brasstacks. Plan was to attack North Pakistan (Op Trident). Attack was suppose to Launch on Feb 1987 first on Gilgit then on Sikardu and to complete with in a week. Due to presence of Mountain divisions, superiority of Indian Air force over Pakistani counter parts, India was in much stronger position. As a result of such attack, Pakistan was unable to defend her Northern Areas, hence was suppose to launch counter attack in Punjab/Rajhastan region. For countering that eminent response after a possible Indian offense huge portion of Indian Military (2.5 Cores) were deployed close to Pakistan border in the name of Military drills. This dangerous plan was foiled and Pakistan urgently counducted counter measures. As both United States & Pakistan were allies in Afghanistan war and trapped Soviet Union was in no position to support India against possible Chinese interference hence whole plan was scrapped. (Ravi Rikhye wrote whole incident in his book War that never was)

    Now we are in present, consider some key points,

    1: Indian Mountain divisions are now enlarged to Mountain core.
    2: India is preparing and planning for tackle two front war from long time.
    3: India now has support of United States as well as her allied power at diplomatic, financial and strategic levels.
    4: India has Modern Strategic transport air craft which can paratrop light armored vehicles too along with good strength of troops any where in North Pakistan on short notice.
    5: Indian air force is dominant over Pakistan air force.
    6: CPEC is going to grant Pakistan firm control over Kashmir issue as well as will develop better land link with China. China military presence will increase in region to protect this route once completed.
    7: CPEC will transform Pakistan economy hence a stable economy mean, stronger military, bigger budget, stable diplomatic policies, more allies in region etc.
    8: Militant Camps exist in these regions too.

    Considering all above 8 points as well as recent frustration of Modi Sarkar towards CPEC and how he is complaining about this project with China & and its out come with United States must not be ignored. India lost proxy wars in Pakistan and using some random incident in India, India can attempt covert operation in GB under the title of ''Cross Border Anti Terror Op''. During such operation India will remain deploy 5 Lakh military with Pakistan border in order to face any possible counter attack. Since conflict will be limited and in mountaneous region, so use of Tactical or Ballistic nuclear weapons will be out of question. It will be a Kargil like conflict where both Militaries will fight conventionally in a locked region.

    Lets suppose that if India manages to capture GB, then it will break land link between Pakistan and China. India will get land route to Afghanistan via Wakhan Corridor hence to Central Asia and Europe. It will sabotage CPEC project and firm India grip on Kashmir, Afghanistan and Iran. Pakistan who is already suffering from lack of strategic depth will be surrounded by India from three sides and Indian allies from fourth side. (71 like situation).

    This was just a analysis from my part about strategic importance of GB. People just give importance to this region due to Landscapes, Mountains and Lakes (for obvious reason). But real thing is its strategic importance which must not be compromised at any cost and measures should be taken to strengthen our Direct Assault Mountain war fare capabilities from lessons learned in past wars as well as recent war on terror. GB is not just a Jewel for Pakistan, its also battle helmet which provide protection to entire Pakistan.

    Rest I fully agree with your points, it was just crazy addition from my part as I take some conspiracy stuff very seriously. 8-)


     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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  12. HRK

    HRK PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    with all other benefits ... the thing which most of the people does not count about the region is its potential to become trading hub for Pakistan in long run .... its will surely attract businessmen from allover Pakistan particularly form KARACHI ... Sust Dry Port will be the next business hub ....
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  13. Shotgunner51

    Shotgunner51 INT'L MOD

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    Excellent article! Wish I can get a good translator and post it on Chinese media.
     
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  14. American Pakistani

    American Pakistani ELITE MEMBER

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    Excellent read.

    Will love to see locals selling fruits to neighboring China and "stan" states and investing the earnings back in GB by growing more fruits and apple orchards.:smitten:
     
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  15. Levina

    Levina BANNED

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    Thanks for the tag Wajsie.
    I've heard CPEC is going to be a fortune changer for GB. Analysts say that the projects conceived under CPEC will ease Pakistan’s energy shortages and make a substantial difference in the long term. Good for you guys!
    I hope your government has begun training ppl in various trades relevant and required for economic corridor related professions.
    What surprises me most is the fact that in a mountainous terrain like GB, literacy rate is as high as 90%, thats an incredible feat achieved by your people. Educated individuals, I believe, are going to be the most valuable asset of GB in future.


    wow! :tup:
     
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