Gilgit-Baltistan: Multi-Billion Dollar China - Pakistan Economic Corridor to Intensify Exploitation
Photo Courtesy of: Joseph Bautista 2013 @Flickr
According to local leaders and human rights activists of beleaguered Gilgit-Baltistan, the implementation of the ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC) will be instrumental in continuing the exploitation of the region’s resources. Being part of China’s 21st century Silk Road Initiative, the mammoth project is to boost Pakistan’s infrastructural development. However, the local population’s most pressing issue is not the asserted promotion of economic progress, but the respect for their most basic human rights.
Below is an article published by Business Standard:
Leaders and activists from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan have said that the proposed multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through Gilgit is a design by Pakistan and China to exploit the region's resources.
"I believe that the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is illegal and the worst form of state terrorism. In this case, the states of China and Pakistan - the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are not in need of the economic corridors of exploitation - they are longing for their basic human rights and their political liberties", said Junaid Qureshi, an Amsterdam-based Kashmiri writer, who was originally a resident of Srinagar.
The CPEC is a collection of projects currently under construction at a cost of US-$ 46 billion which are intended to upgrade and expand Pakistani infrastructure.
The corridor is considered to be an extension of China's ambitious proposed 21st century Silk Road initiative.
CPEC is considered central to China-Pakistan relations, and its central importance is reflected by China's inclusion of the project as part of its 13th five year development plan.
Should all the planned projects be implemented, the value of those projects would be equal to all foreign direct investment in Pakistan since 1970.
Infrastructure projects under the aegis of CPEC will span the breadth and width of Pakistan, and will eventually link the Pakistani city of Gwadar Port in southwestern to China's North-Western autonomous region of Xinjiang via a vast network of highways and railways.
Proposed infrastructure projects are worth approximately US-$ 11 billion, and will be financed by heavily-subsidized concessionary loans with an interest rate of 1.6 percent, that will be dispersed to the Government of Pakistan by the Exim Bank of China, China Development Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.