I congratulate “Global Village Space” for its endeavor to bring out special edition on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is signature project of Belt and Road initiative. In this age of geo-economics CPEC would be the new order of South Asia, Central Asia and China. It is a matter of immense pleasure and satisfaction for me that AJ&K has been included in CPEC initiatives which would bring economic and social prosperity in the state.
AJK Government vision is to venture in new economic potential like improved road infrastructure, harness maximum hydropower, avail all opportunities of tourism sector and make AJK digitally vibrant and innovative. This well managed, resourceful area of AJK with 70% educated population, if invested with well planned mega projects like CPEC initiatives can become a model of the most developed region of Pakistan.
Work on four mega-projects under CPEC is in progress with a fast pace and I have a strong conviction that AJK will emerge as an economic power in the region in the coming years. These four projects include Karot Hydro Power Project of 720MW, Kohala Hydro Power Project of 1124MW, Mansehra-Mirpur Expressway and Mirpur industrial zone.
Besides this initial work on Gulpur, Azad Pattan Mahal and Dohniyal Hydro Power Project have been started. I am hopeful and it is my earnest wish that AJK would be able to generate 6000MW electricity in the coming decade. This energy would prove pivotal for Pakistan’s ever increasing energy demand.
For road infrastructure improvement, Mansehra-Mirpur Expressway would connect entire Azad Kashmir to CPEC’s central route. Kashmir being integral part of historic silk route need to be reconnected with same via CPEC initiatives. Historically Kashmir was part of greater Gandhara which join connecting route of Silk Road at various locations in the ancient past. Kashmri benefited economically, culturally and socially from the silk route.
This shared historic baggage need to be explored with a new project of “Feasibility study of Bhudhist trail from “GB to KPK to AJK” It is important to mention that India’s reservation/objections to CPEC’s passing through AJ&K are entirely baseless and unjustified. Indian propaganda against CPEC will never work and I must say that apart from CPEC, the Govt. of AJ&K would welcome foreign investment that aims to uplift the social and economic condition of the people of AJ&K.