Sunday, January 24, 2021

Balochistan Objects to CPEC Project Just Before Pakistan Elections?

Just before the Elections in Pakistan, the news of discontent in Balochistan about the CPEC Project seems to flaring-up. The CPEC Initiative which is China’s massive investment project in Pakistan is attracting major discontent among the people of Pakistan, especially Balochistan. According to the International Crisis Group, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is finding great discontent amongst the local people of Pakistan, due to two major reasons.

The Uproar in Gwadar over CPEC Project

The director of the International Crisis Group, Richard Edwood said that the people in the Gwadar region have endured aggressive military actions in the past. He further stated that the people in the region are now worried about the large-scale military presence in Balochistan.
The Gwadar Port is a vital element of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Through the Gwadar Port, China aspires to access the Arabian Sea. An access to the Arabian Sea will open an alternative route for China’s trade and hence this port holds the key for China. This region falls under the suppressed Balochistan province which has a wide presence of Pakistan military and frequent insurgencies.
General elections in Pakistan are to be held on July 25. This report of the International Crisis Group will surely make the contesting parties pay attention to this discontent. The International Crisis Group said that tensions might mount in Pakistan over the $62 billion project.
Pakistan and China need to resolve the issues soon as suggested by the report. CPEC is the largest forefront of China’s One Belt and One Road initiative. China for sure does not want any issues to stand in the way of its aspirations. Through the One Belt One Road initiative, China aims to revive the traditional Silk Route and expand its trade.
Pakistan’s economy, on the other hand, is in dire need of reforms. Many suggest that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will bolster the economy of Pakistan. The CPEC is only triggering political tensions in Pakistan, mainly because of the large-scale presence of Pakistan Army who are ignoring the local security and only protecting Chinese people and the projects. Secondly, as envisaged, CPEC has failed to bring jobs in Balochistan region, as the majority of workers are either Chinese or from outside the state.

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