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    Chitral Chamber of Commerce organizes bossiness conference at Shandur

    By Zahiruddin

     CHITRAL: Mines and minerals, tourism and hydro-power potential are the three sectors which have tremendous potentials both in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and a close liaison and working relationship between the two areas was inevitable so as to fully exploit the resources and thereby weed out poverty from the northern belt.



    This was the outcome of the ‘Business Conference’ held in Shandur arranged by Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) with the financial assistance of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and attended by the business community and officers of the relevant departments of Chitral and GB.



    Highlighting the importance of the conference, the founder president of CCCI Sartaj Ahmed Khan said that Chitral and GB were two contiguous areas having historical, cultural and social relations with each other while the emerging scenario in the area, it had become unavoidable to come close in the realm of economic as well.



    He said that in tourism sector, GB was in developed stage attracting multitude of tourists to the area and the experience of the success story needs to be transmitted to Chitral which can also be converted to paradise of tourists.



    He said that in the context of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), there emerged a list containing areas of economic activity common to both Chitral and GB for which both must strive in unison to rise to the occasion.



    Awais Khan, representative of KP Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC) explained in detail the potentials of Chitral in different sectors and  said that marble and granite  had a tremendous deposit in Chitral estimated at 297 billion metric tons while precious and gem stones had also rich deposits whose marketability needs to be assessed in the global market.



    Mr. Khan mentioned the galore of fruits and vegetables coupled with medicinal plants in Chitral whose market can be developed with the active support of GB which has already made remarkable progress in the sector while production of honey had also a good  potential in Chitral and a large demand in the national market.



    He said that special economic zones in both the areas needed for natural resource management and making production on commercial scale to meet the demand in the national and global market apart from their value addition.



    The managing director of Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP), Mushtaq Ahmed , highlighted the importance of tourism sector and said that it had become the major source of national income in many countries of the world and it was second only to oil in the world market in terms of profitability.



    He described the efforts and achievements of TCKP in the promotion of tourism in Chitral and said that for holding the Shandur festival this year, it had released a huge amount of Rs. 40 million while Baroghil festival will be hold next year in which Tajikistan will also be invited to participate.



    He said that Chitral had a number of attractions in Chitral which included the thousands of years old and primitive Kalash culture, mountaineering, sight-seeing and tracking in the foothold of Hindu Kush system of mountains while Chitral hosted more than two hundred peaks of the mountain having altitude more than 6000 meters.



    Mr. Khan said that tourism sector has the latent capability in Chitral as biggest source of income for the government and can engage both the trained and raw labour force and do away with unemployment while coordination with GB in this sector will have additional advantages.



    The hydro-power generation in bulk quantity in the length and breadth of Chitral by using the water resources and mountainous topography was enunciated as a source of income which needed concerted efforts and approaches both by the private and public sectors.



    Ebadullah Khan and Mudassir of KPEZDMC told the conference that 50 acres of land had been acquired for setting up special economic zone in southern Chitral and planning was underway to develop marble city there.



    The collector of customs, KP Dr. Ovais Jadoon said that the setting up of  entry points and custom stations both in Shah Salim of Gobor and Arandu can help boost the trade in the area with Afghanistan and a number of Central Asian republics on the pattern of Khunjrab Pass in GB.



    He said that Shah Salim in Chitral had an historical perspective as well and would pave the way for export of medicine, cement and vegetables and fruits to Tajikistan while Chitral was not less than in any way than Switzerland.



    The chief guest of the conference and deputy speaker of GB Assembly, Jaffarullah Khan extolled the efforts of TDAP and CCCI for holding  the event and said that the areas of Chitral and GB were rich in natural resources as well as hardworking people which needed for progress and prosperity.



    He said that the areas can come close together and pool up their resources by jointly managing them and a proper mechanism should be evolved out to translate this idea into action and it was the right time to think and act upon it.


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