Gilgit-Baltistan:GB will not budge from its stated boundry position on the Shandur and Diamer-Bhasha Dam

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Gilgit :Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) will not budge from its stated position on the Shandur and Diamer-Bhasha Dam boundary issue, G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah said on Saturday.

“There is a boundary commission looking into the issue but I want to clarify that we will not withdraw our stated position on the two boundaries,” Shah told the media in Gilgit.

Ties between G-B and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have been tense for some time now, because both provinces claimed Shandur, the highest polo ground located between Gilgit and Chitral, as their territory. In fact, G-B also accused K-P of encroaching upon its land in Diamer district where work on the dam is in progress.

Issues relating to the proposed Diamer-Bhasha Dam have almost been settled and President Asif Ali Zardari will inaugurate the project, Shah said. “There is no issue regarding compensation. People who are likely to be affected by the dam are gradually being compensated,” he added.

With billion of rupees in royalty on the line, Shah said the boundary commission was looking into the ongoing dispute between the two provinces to settle the matter peacefully. The G-B government is paying attention to two sectors, energy and education, to bring prosperity into the region, Shah said.

Though President Zardari is due in Chilas on October 18, to inaugurate the work on the proposed dam, issues pertaining to the boundary and compensation are yet to be fully resolved.

There are people who continue to claim compensation for “possible losses” due to the construction of the dam. Last month at least 5,000 people in Chilas, the headquarters of Diamer district, blocked the main Karakoram Highway for over 24 hours and opened the road only after the government assured them that their demands would be heard.

People have threatened to subvert the project if their demands are not met. (ET)

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