Türkiye’s prominence as a global tourism powerhouse has caught the attention of northern Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, with local officials expressing keen interest in fostering collaboration between the two regions.
Haci Gulbar Khan, the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, in a recent conversation with Anadolu in the city of Gilgit, stated, “We are ready for any kind of cooperation with Türkiye on tourism.” Khan, who had the opportunity to visit Türkiye last year, lauded it as a “developed” nation and emphasized the potential avenues for collaboration, particularly in tourism and the dry food sector.
Khan’s enthusiasm for bolstering tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan was evident as he remarked, “There is no other place in Pakistan with tourism potential as great as Gilgit-Baltistan.” This region, nestled at the crossroads of the world’s most majestic mountain ranges — the Karakoram, Himalayas, Hindukush, and Pamir — offers unparalleled scenic beauty and adventure opportunities.
Highlighting Türkiye’s significant role in the production and sale of dry foods, Khan expressed optimism about Gilgit-Baltistan’s potential collaboration with Türkiye in this sector, contingent upon the approval of the central Pakistani government.
In a promising development for the region’s tourism, Khan pointed out the recent surge in foreign tourists in the city of Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan, facilitated by the initiation of flights from Dubai this year. He also shed light on the ongoing efforts to make the Gilgit airport accessible for international flights, which would pave the way for more tourists from Türkiye and other nations to explore the region. Khan confidently stated that direct flights from Türkiye to Gilgit-Baltistan are on the horizon, with long-term strategies being formulated to realize this vision.
Haci Gulbar Khan’s political journey has seen him elected as a lawmaker from the Diamir district in the 2020 elections. He has been a recurring figure in the legislative body, having been elected multiple times since 2009 from the Jamiat Ulema Islam party. In 2020, Khan joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and has served as a minister during two tenures: 2009-2014 and 2020-2023.
Gilgit-Baltistan, sharing its borders with China, was conferred autonomous status along with a legislative assembly in 2009. Before this, it was under the direct governance of Islamabad. (AA)