Turbat (Balochistan) [Pakistan], February 6 (ANI): The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not benefitting the people of Balochistan, said provincial minister Asad Baloch, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government is not serious about resolving the problems faced by people of the province.
Baloch, who is the Provincial Minister for Social Welfare and Special Education, on Wednesday said the provincial assembly had passed resolutions on several issues, including high number of accidents on the highways linking Balochistan with the rest of the country, smuggling of fruits and vegetables from Iran and construction of a double carriageway from Chaman to Quetta, but the federal government did nothing to resolve these issues, Dawn reported.
Balochistan remains Pakistan's poorest and least populous province despite a number of development projects initiated by Islamabad there in the past.
In 2015, China announced an economic project in Pakistan worth USD 46 billion, of which Balochistan is an integral part. With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Beijing aims to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia in order to counter US and Indian influence.
The CPEC would link Pakistan's southern Gwadar port (626 kilometers, 389 miles west of Karachi) in Balochistan on the Arabian Sea to China's western Xinjiang region. It also includes plans to create road, rail and oil pipeline links to improve connectivity between China and the Middle East.
The minister said the CPEC was not benefiting the people of Balochistan while people of other provinces were enjoying fruits of the mega project. Balochistan was not included in the CPEC in its first phase, he added.
"If Gwadar is removed from the CPEC, the mega project will have no significance and importance," he said, adding that the people of Gwadar were not provided even basic amenities.
He said a huge population of Balochistan was involved in the Iranian diesel business, so if this business was stopped without providing alternative opportunities to them they would be deprived of their livelihood. (ANI)