BWO Pakistan has a constitutional objective to promote knowledge, awareness and positive thinking on its chosen areas like, Quality Education and Research, Women Development and Poverty Eradication so it arranges off and on the Conferences and Seminars/Webinars at National and International Level.
National Webinar “CPEC AND TOURISM IN GILGIT-BALTISTAN PAKISTAN”
Place: Online Video call link: https://meet.google.com/iif-qcca-yrz
Date: Wednesday, April 28 2021, Time: 1:30 – 4:00pm
Organizer/Host: Dr. Syed Aftab Alam (Alam Learning Institute & Bismillah Welfare Organization Pakistan)
Dignitaries & Keynote Speakers:
- Guest of Honor, Excellency Raja Nasir Ali Khan (Minister for Tourism, Sports, Culture & Archaeology and Youth Affairs Gilgit- Baltistan, Pakistan)
- Chief Guest, Excellency Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naeem Khan, (Worthy Vice Chancellor, University of Baltistan, Skardu Pakistan)
- 1st Keynote Speaker: Mr. Muhammad Hassan Hasrat, (Ex-Regional Director, Allama Iqbal Open University, International Author, Philosopher and Authority on Language, Culture and History of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan)
- 2nd Keynote Speaker: Prof. Dr. Arshad Munir, (Chairman of the Department of Islamic Studies at Ghazi University Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan)
- 3rd Keynote Speaker: Dr. Muhammad Arif Khan, (Ex-Director General, Department of Archeology, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad)
- 4th Keynote Speaker: Mr. Abdul Shakoor Shah, (An active International columnist on Government policies, Tourism of AJK Pakistan)
- Sum-up of the Webinar: Group Captain R Syed Mukhtar Ahmad, (Senior Vice President, Bismillah Welfare Organization Pakistan)
- NOTE: The detailed Proceeding of the webinar of 31 pages will be published in June 2021 Edition of the “Journal of Academic Research for Humanities Pakistan & Australia”
Main Points by the Worthy Guest of Honor, Excellency Raja Nasir Ali Khan, Minister for Tourism GB, Pakistan
- Government has made a large number of projects for development of tourism and culture in Gilgit-Baltistan. There is a need of infrastructure to support tourism
- Most important issue faced by Gilgit-Baltistan is shortage of energy. There had been meetings of CPEC to focus on energy of Gilgit-Baltistan for sustainable tourism.
- Loans have been given on zero interest to adjust 4 homes within a single structure to promote tourism.
- Valley development: There are three villages under the plan. The whole village will be developed.
- There had been meeting with Ambassadors and investors. We have 2-3 proposals for CPEC. We have mentioned two to three areas where they can launch projects related to tourism. The main focus is on: Eco Tourism & Mass Tourism
- Project of National Park in Gilgit-Baltistan is mainly for environmental purposes .Now cutting forests is 2 5 which was 10-15% before. All steps will be taken to save the environment
Main Points by the Worthy Chief Guest,
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naeem, Vice Chancellor, UoB, Skardu
- Gilgit-Baltistan is the area with the highest literacy rate. Higher women participation in different fields. Area with highest happiness index in Pakistan.
- The University of Baltistan is going to establish Balti museum inside the university. There are huge Buddhists cravings over there. There are also discovery of Christianity cravings.
- A cross is found near 15 km from the University of Baltistan and it was named as Kovardo cross, Skardu. It is believed that it is 1000 to 2000 years old. Kovardo valley is 10-15 km away from Skardu airport. This cross is huge evidence that Christianity was present in Gilgit-Baltistan. This became global news and more than 90 countries flashed this news in Newspapers. Vatican has approached the concerned authorities and has sent experts. There is expectation of 1300 million US$ project coming from Italian Government from one of their universities. The project has been approved
- There is need to promote Eco-Tourism in Baltistan. There are unique species that are not found anywhere in the world. These could be signs of collaboration, Interaction, Message of love, Peace and development. Pakistan should send these messages abroad to attract international tourists.
Main Points by 1st Keynote Speaker
Respected Mr. Muhammad Hassan Hasrat
- Geographically and culturally Pakistan is among the most beautiful countries of the world. Allah Almighty has blessed this country especially the region of Gilgit-Baltistan with all his blessings. There are great opportunities of Adventure tourism in this land.
- The old Silk Road which connects China with South Asian countries also takes its path through Gilgit-Baltistan which connects China with the Indian sub-continent. Due to this a great deal of co-operation exists between Islamabad and Beijing.
- The CPEC plan will make Gilgit-Baltistan the ‘Switzerland of East’. There are plans of billion dollars investment for Gilgit-Baltistan in the current budget. The most important benefit of CPEC is Economic growth of Pakistan.
Main Points by 2nd Keynote Speaker
Respected Prof. Dr. Arshad Munir, On his behalf Prof. Dr. Mufti Abdur Razaq attended the webinar and made the following points:
- According to CPEC plan, the road from Sukkhur goes straight towards Multan. There is need to extend the CPEC road further towards Gawadar. There is also a religious aspect of the CPEC plan.
- The shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid (RA) is along the road of CPEC plan. Similarly on the land of Taunsa Sharif, there is famous shrine of Sulayman Taunsawi.
- In the same way, the shrine of Sakhi Sarwar Shaheed also comes along the way in Balochistan. It will be very important that while implementing the CPEC plan, we need to include these famous tombs along the planned routes of CPEC. Therefore there is importance of CPEC from religious point of view also.
Main Points by 3rd Keynote Speaker
Respected Dr. Muhammad Arif
- Gilgit-Baltistan is situated at an important location geographically and statistically. The history of this part of world is supported by Archaeological sites.
- Besides the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Karakoram University and the University of Gilgit-Baltistan should initiate cultural exchange program for students, professionals and young scholars for international co-operation and friendly generation
- Dr. Muhammad Arif suggested that there should be Cultural Heritage Management plan which should include following steps:
- To identify and document all those holders that are needed to promote open Air museum to be set up in Chillas.
- The project has been revised by international experts of the highest repute in conformity with the World Bank, UNESCO, National and International piers.
- Important pictographs should be 3D-Scanned, documented and allocated.
- Important curved rock surfaces should be preserved by the use of barrier and screens
- Restoration of Renovation of Chillas fort, museum and library.
Main Points by 4th Keynote Speaker
Respected Mr. Abdul Shakoor Shah
- Local tourism in Pakistan is increasing annually, with an expected number of over 50 million domestic tourists forecast by the Pakistan Tourism development Corporation (PTDC), which shows a lot of potential in the industry
- Pakistan had received a 37 % increase in tourism visa application submitted by Chinese due to CPEC in previous years despite the close bilateral relations, the country in South Asia did not attract too many international tourist arrivals but CPEC is going to change its scenario.
- CPEC provides an opportunity to connect AJK with the outside world AJK has designated 5 projects under CPEC.
- KAHAT 720 MW hydropower project
- KOHALA 1124 MW hydropower project
- Azad Patan 700 MW hydropower project.
- Milpur Special Economic Zone Project and
- Gilgit-Baltistan is the hub of tourism industry in Pakistan. 2.5 million Tourists both domestic and international travelled to Northern areas in Pakistan previous year
- In Gilgit-Baltistan there is Bio diversity in Wildlife & High Altitude forests ,4 National Parks, 9 Game Reserves , 3 Wildlife sanctuaries, 230 species of birds, 54 species of mammals, 20 species of fresh water fist, 23 species of reptiles, 6 of amphibians, 6592 sq. Km of forests, which constitutes 9.1 % of the total area.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE WEBINAR
- There is a great potential in Pakistan especially in Northern areas for historic, scenic, mountain, cultural, religious, echo and medicinal tourism. There is only need to increase energy and infrastructure development.
- There should be development of an eco-friendly university in Baluchistan and Skardu having all the core human, social, moral values and it will be a great achievement.
- There is need to avoid unnecessary construction to save natural beauty and we need to hire International experts for Home-Stay Visitors culture.
- Best income revenue can be generated by introducing tourism projects and by taking help from local communities.
- Hotel Management courses, Tour guide and Technical courses should be launched in the University of Gilgit-Baltistan with the collaboration of Tourism and Hospitality Institute GB.
- There is a need to start Community Tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan
- There should be public-private partnership projects on tourism in GB and Spiral of money should be within the community to solve the problem of Poverty Eradication.
- There is a need to promote open Air Museum to be set up in Chillas, Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan.
- The Karakoram University and the Gilgit-Baltistan University should initiate cultural exchange program for students, professionals and young scholars for international co-operation and friendly generation.
- Tourism projects for Turkey, Japan & CPEC should be launched by the government with the collaboration of academia of both countries.
- Local investors should be proactive in investing in the regional Tourism.
- ‘Industrial Zone’ should be established in Muzaffarabad like Mirpur under the CPEC projects which will help tourism in linked valley of the capital and shonter tunnel.
- There is need Tourism projects in Gilgit- Baltistan .which should include:
- Cultural Tourism
- There are unique medicinal plants found exclusively in Gilgit-Baltistan which can be a source of attraction for Bio medicals and Pharmaceutical companies. These unique herbs and flora of such height can help in cure of Covid-19
- There is need to develop Fish industry and China should be encouraged to form sample fishery cages for future illustration in Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan
- Precious gems and minerals found in Gilgit-Baltistan need to be processed, polished and developed into an industry of Pakistan
- Tourism industry should be started from Baluchistan and Sindh and all the way to Gilgit-Baltistan because the people are congenitally good hosts.
- Artisanal works of Gilgit-Baltistan needs to be promoted.
- Religious tourism of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam have numerous places to visit.
- The webinar provided a great chance to discuss the policy matters of cabinet level related to Tourism with an option to open One-Window for Tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan
Dr. Syed Aftab Alam