Sep 08, 2016

Balochistan: Women and Children Held Captive as Pakistani Army Cracks Down on Civilians

Photo Courtesy of Reuters @India Today

Reports of a heavy crackdown by the Pakistani army and police on civilians – including women and children – come in from three different cities in the beleaguered region of Balochistan. After taking Baloch people at gunpoint on 7 September 2016, armed forces raided the houses of Baloch activists and kept women and children captive for over 24 hours. The crackdown happens in the context of heightened tensions over land ruthlessly appropriated by the regime in Islamabad to construct the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India Today’s journalist Mayank Pratap Singh likens the developments in Balochistan to a genocide.

Below is an article published by India Today:

Massive military operations by Pakistan army and the police have been reported from Panjgur, Turbat and Kulaho, 24 hours after the forces took Baloch people at gunpoint. Pakistan army, along with police constable, raided the houses of Baloch activists and seized their homes on Tuesday. The women and children have been kept captive for more than 24 hours without food or water. The locals reported that earlier a book shop of Baloch literature was also rampaged by the army and books and literature was confiscated.

The area is near the Gwadar port which was sold to China by Pakistan. People protesting against the Chinese intervention in the region are now at the receiving end. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been opposed by the Baloch activists and they claim that Pakistan is trying to grab their lands. In the name of development and security to the upcoming controversial project, running from Gwadar in Balochistan to China via Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the Pakistan government has resorted to genocide in the area.

India raised its concern with China over the CPEC running through PoK and terrorism "emanating from the region" as Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Chinese President Xi Jinping the two countries need to be "sensitive" to each other's strategic interests on Sunday. Asserting that fight against terror should not be motivated by "political considerations", Modi said it is of "paramount importance that we respect each other's aspirations, concerns and strategic interests" to ensure durable bilateral ties.

During the bilateral meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Modi raised India's concerns over the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being laid through PoK. Besides a host of energy-related projects, the CPEC consists of rail, road and pipelines to ferry oil and gas from Gwadar port on Arabian Sea to Kashghar in China's Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province through PoK.