ISLAMABAD – In a bid to secure an all important economic corridor stretching all the way from Kashghar and passing through Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ruling functionaries at the Centre are all set to establish a special forces mandated with a counter-terrorism role at the Karakuram Highway.
A force comprising 1500 personnel is being raised under the directives of Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs is working on the directions to finalize the hierarchy and service structure of the force, a senior government official informed this scribe on Wednesday.
The force is being established keeping in view the volatile security situation of Gilgit Baltistan, especially after the Nanga Parbit incident and to provide secure environment to enhance trade with China.
Confirming this development, a top bureaucrat stated that modalities are being finalised to this effect. “The arrangements are being given final touches,” said Federal Secretary for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Shahidullah Baig in an exclusive chat with this correspondent.
He endorsed that the ministry was working on a plan to raise special force for the Gilgit Baltistan area for the security of Karakoram Highway.
Baig said that after finalization of all the modalities regarding the special force, the related summary would shortly be moved to the interior ministry for its approval about the service structure of the force. He said when the ministry of interior would approve the plan, the PC-1 would be got approved from the federal government and funds allocation would be sought from it.
The Karakuram Highway (KKH), commonly known as Silk Route, connects China and Pakistan across the Karakuram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass. It connects China’s Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions.
Earlier, the local police of Gilgit Baltistan is performing security duties along the Silk Route under the temporary arrangements and it keeps on patrolling along the highway day and night.
During the Prime Minister’s visit to China in last July, China had raised serious concerns about the volatile security situation of Pakistan and the government has already decided to give army-backed security to Chinese companies working in Pakistan. PML-N led federal government is eyeing on $23 billion investment from China in the country’s energy sector besides other investment.
In June last year, some gunmen dressed in paramilitary forces had killed nine foreign mountaineers including Chinese at the base camp of Nanga Parbat in Diamer district of Gilgit Baltistan. The incident was a severe blow for the Pakistani government at the international level.