GILGIT – An assortment of people gathered in Skardu on Monday to protest against the alleged exclusion of Gilgit-Baltistan from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

The protest was organised by the PPP’s GB chapter. The party complained that Gilgit-Baltistan had not received any share in the project, even though 439 kilometres of land in Skardu had been acquired by the government for CPEC, according to Dawn.

Rather, the total investment of $42bn dollars has been directed towards Punjab and other areas, the PPP said.

The protesters further protested that the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan was not invited to accompany Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his visit to Chine for the One Belt, One Road forum (OBOR) while chief ministers of all other provinces were invited.

“They said that the exclusion of the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan from the forum was a sign that the government has adopted exploitative and discriminatory policies in the area,” Dawn reported.

However, it is pertinent to note that Gilgit-Baltistan has been included in the new silk route.

Pakistan on Saturday signed new deals with China on Saturday worth nearly $500 million ahead of Beijing’s international forum on its “Silk Road” trade and infrastructure initiative for Asia, Africa and Europe, the Pakistani government said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday addressed the plenary session of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing, where he stressed that geo-economics should take precedence over geopolitics.

PM Sharif, who had arrived in the Chinese capital on Friday to participate in the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) forum, said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) must not be politicised, adding that the corridor remains open to all countries.

He said that CPEC is at the core of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, which has fostered inclusion and tolerance in the region.

“We are not striving to merely leverage geography for economic prosperity; we are also trying to build a peaceful, connected and caring neighbourhood,” he maintained