Gilgit-Baltistan’s Chief Minister, Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman, visited the Ismaili Centre on 21 January 2016 where he met with members of the Jamati leadership from the UK and Europe. The Chief Minister was accompanied by a high level delegation including the Chief Secretary and the Secretary of Education.

The Chief Minister conveyed his deep admiration for Mawlana Hazar Imam, the Ismaili community particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan and around the world, and work of the AKDN globally. The Chief Minister also expressed his gratitude for the on-going support towards the development of Gilgit- Baltistan region. He praised the Ismaili community  for being forward thinking and assisting sister  communities in various parts of Gilgit-Baltistan,  and leading communities as role models in peace  and in development work in the region.  

President Liakat Hasham thanked the government of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan in assisting the AKDN and other institutions in fulfilling their agendas.

The investment potential of the region was discussed at the meeting. The Chief Minister announced the government’s plan of establishing a Board of Investment by June 2016, with a view of facilitating the implementation of investment projects; and more importantly to continuously improve the investment and business climate. The Board of Investment would be the first point of contact for investors exploring business opportunities.

Potential investment plans were also discussed including the introduction of micro-hydroelectric plants, enabling remote communities in the region to gain independent access to energy supply. The Chief Minister highlighted the need for eco-friendly energy generation in the area with the long-term mission of reducing carbon emissions, reducing the use of firewood, which is a leading source of deforestation in the region.

The Chief Minister officially invited the European Ismaili business leaders to visit Gilgit-Baltistan and explore the opportunities the area has to offer particularly in the hospitality and leisure industry. He reflected on the surge of tourists in 2015, which is said to double by the summer of 2016 to around a million. He stressed the need for new hotels to cater the large influx of tourists and placed particular emphasis on the major opportunity in the hospitality industry for investors.

The Chief Secretary conveyed the importance of Gilgit-Baltistan in the current context of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gilgit-Baltistan acting as a gateway. The continuing efforts to improve the road links between China and Central Asia will further open up more avenues for investment in the region.

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