The residents of Gilgit-Baltistan have been treasuring 4 beautiful seasons having loads of colors in the highlands but one question harkens like a shadow, that how long these priceless bliss will last???? The undeniable grief is pinching in my subconscious when I hear “Economic Corridor” which has now become outlandish mantra of the holy land.
The land of Gilgit-Baltistan is known for their natural bounties, the fragile mountain eco-system and unmatched diverse cultural practices, these rewards are cherished, valued and adored among researchers and travelers worldwide.
The zoologists and botanists declared this region a central bank of some precious flora and fauna, for the glaciologists it remained home of unending white and black glaciers, for the travelers it’s not lesser then a heaven, for the conservationists it remained the last resort of some endangered species, for the culture campaigners and researchers it offers a complete package of diverse cultural practices and incomparable languages/dialects having soulful melodies, for the sports enthusiasts GB has always welcomed mountaineers, rock climbers, mountain bikers, kayakers, river rafters, paragliders, admirers of freestyle polo and what not, for the historians and explorers it opened ways to unresolved mysteries and ancient civilization.
The well-known Karakorum Highway (KKH) runs through many villages and towns of Gilgit-Baltistan, which has undoubtedly eased the road journey for travelers. This manmade wonder has accelerated socio-economic development in the region as well as opened plenty business horizons and facilitated import and exports opportunities.
No wonder this “wonder” has also been doing great damages, no matter how loud the jingoists yell. This wonder has been contributing adversely ranging from land damages, plant removal, land, air, and noise pollutions and plenty others.
Now coming to the real point as we all know the Chinese and Pakistani sides have recently agreed to give Economic Corridor a real shape, which is worth 45 Billion Dollars. This multibillion dollar project is believed to be a game changer for both countries as well as for the entire region. No doubt it will be game changer as it will open horizons for economic development and will ease paths for investment opportunities, which is a total blessing for economic giants.
Taking a Birdseye view of project plan it appears that both sides have completely ignored indigenous communities during the whole process. These poor communities living in various part of the region will fade away as there is no sign to give them stake in the whole process. There should have been consolidated advised plans at micro-level to secure some basic rights of these indigenous communities, which would have gained trust of people at mass level.
While looking at macro level it seems the Economic Corridor project will revolutionize economies of both sides if planned and implemented sincerely but it will do colossal damage at micro level. If exemplified it will be like a fight between two mad bulls but the grass will be crushed beneath. The fear of such happening can’t be ignored especially to the people of Gilgit-Balitstan.
The trick of bypassing the inhabitants of Gilgit-Balitstan seems again working pretty well, as the unlucky inhabitants can’t even think about their due rights, whether its Indus River royalty, inbound/outbound travelers fee, mining and precious gems licensing fee, airspace duties, Sost Dry Port and Custom duties, and many more. The deity knows better what will happen to the royalties of Diamer-Bhasha and Bunji Dames as the central authorities are looking forward with great hunger.
In a meeting in regarding Economic Corridor, when inquired about possible benefits for the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan one of our holy Chinese friend replied they can open carwash center, which clearly shows sincere approach of concerned authorities of both sides.
If the ignoramus approach of central authorities remains unchanged then the efforts for uprising, and revolts will be welcomed, as we have seen a shift in recent election of GBLA.
One can read the published post HERE