CPEC posing a regional threat, says Baloch activist

ANI | Updated: Nov 22, 2017 17:19 IST

Geneva [Switzerland], Nov.22 (ANI): The multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) not only poses a threat to any community, but to the entire region, says Ali Akbar Mengal, a Baloch activist.

Beijing believes this economic corridor is important link to its larger Silk Road Initiative to enhance economic cooperation between Asia and Europe.

However, in Pakistan's Balochistan province the locals are opposing the project by calling it a strategy to exploit the resources and destroy the ethnic culture.

Balochistan is the home to the deep water port of Gwadar - the key strategic interest behind the construction of road and rail infrastructure that will connect China's Xinjiang - home to the oppressed Uyghurs - to the Arabian Sea.

Ali Akbar Mengal, a Baloch activist said, "The total population of Gwadar is around 20 thousand. Since its forceful occupation over Balochsitan, it remains Pakistan's policy not to open any technical training or educational institutions to keep them backward and occupy their resources. In Gawadar, the Baloch are not well educated. We fear that China and Pakistan wants to capture the entire region by expanding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Not only Baloch, the CPEC raises an alarming bell for all countries in the entire region".

Balochistan is one of the resource-rich regions in South Asia but its inhabitants live in abject poverty.

The province has natural resources worth over a trillion dollar including gold, copper, black pearl, oil, coal, natural gas and other reserves.

Despite all, the human development index of Balochistan is lowest in all over Pakistan. There are no hospitals and colleges for the welfare of indigenous people.

"In entire Balochistan province there is only one university, where as in Punjab's one city there exists 7 to 8 universities. Baloch youth have realized that they have no future in Pakistan. Now, Baloch are mobilized to take freedom from Pakistan. Since they have got mobilized, Pakistan has started `kill and dump policy'. Now, female Baloch students are coming forward to demand freedom as they have realized that their future in Pakistan is not safe", said, Mengal.

Pakistan's campaign to implement CPEC has been ruthless, with local inhabitants forcefully cleared and any voice of dissent silenced.

Paramilitary and state agencies have for years systematically violated human rights, among which numerous cases of enforced disappearances, abductions and extrajudicial killings.

Alongside the Pakistani authorities crushing anything interpreted as dissent, locals are increasingly concerned about the massive influx of Chinese military in the region, initially announced as for the protection of the Chinese personnel on the ground.

Furthermore, despite authorities advertising CPEC as a project that will benefit the local population significantly, the project is in fact under complete control of the authorities in Beijing and Islamabad, without any local governance. (ANI)