September 28, 2017
MIRPUR (AJK)-The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project will open new avenues of speedy socio economic progress and prosperity bringing the economic boom in Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir, said AJK Minister for Sports Ch Saeed.
“Azad Jammu & Kashmir State would also be the beneficiary of the gigantic project since four projects have been approved under CPEC – including Kohala and Karot Hydropower projects respectively in Muzaffarabad and Kotli districts, the Quadruple Expressway from Mansehra to Muzaffarabad-to Mirpur to Mangla and the already-approved 9th Special Economic Industrial Zone to be set up in Mirpur,” the minister said while speaking as chief guest at the Annual General meeting of Mirpur Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He highlighted the issues and bottlenecks in the way of industrial development in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Highlighting the broad-based healthy prospects of the arrival of CPEC in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, the minister continued that CPEC in AJK would not only be an opportunity for infrastructure development, energy and industry but also a catalyst for promoting ecotourism and establishing biological and wildlife corridors. Biodiversity sites along the Corridor will be preserved and developed.
Azad Jammu & Kashmir, he underlined, was ideal for eco-tourism because that too was an emerging industry. “It is our responsibility to preserve our natural habitats with as much seriousness as we pursue industrialization. We are also striving to get a tourism corridor included in the framework of CPEC,” he added.
With the advent of the proposed Mirpur special economic industrial zone as an economic hub, Azad Jammu Kashmir would tap into the professional and technological experience of Chinese and Pakistani entrepreneurs, Ch Saeed said. Elaborating the salient features of the CPEC and its upcoming unprecedented impacts on socio-economic progress of AJK, the minister said, “Under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its affiliate - CPEC - China has undertaken to provide advanced and sophisticated technologies. The Governments of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir too would diligently make sure that this zone does not cause environmental degradation and in fact meets the highest environmental standards.”
The government, the minister said, was exploring clean energy options in AJK. “Solar energy consumption is gaining ground and it is also necessary to identify wind corridors for generation of wind power or developing solar-wind hybrids,” he revealed. The minister emphasised the need of highlighting adequately the concrete measures which have been taken by Chinese and Pakistani planners and their corporate entities to incorporate environmental dimensions in CPEC’s land and marine projects.
He called for focusing to achieve the objectives of the project which we will have to develop an overall socio-economic development culture. “The AJK Government is fully committed to doing so,” he added.
The outgoing president of MCCI Ch Sohaib Saeed, outgoing vice president Nawaz Rattayal, newly elected President of the Chamber Muhammad Murtaza, newly elected Sr. Vice President Syed Sabir Hussain Shah, Vice President Syed Shmraiz Hussain Shah, ex-president of AJKCCI Raja Muhammad Jamil, Secretary AJKCCI Muhammad Shafique Chaudhry, heads of their respective factions of Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran Sohail Shujah Mujahid and Raja Khalid Mahmood Khan and others also spoke on the occasion
Ch Sohaib Saeed referred to the laurels the chamber earned during his last two years terms in office towards the progress in industrial development in AJK in general and Mirpur particular. He also underlined the problems confronted by the local business community.
The newly elected MCCI President Ch. Murtaza unveiled his priorities to turn the Chamber into a vibrant institution for the speedy industrial development and progress of AJK in true perspective. Secretary Shafique announced on the occasion the results of the unopposed elections of all the office-bearers of the Chamber