Feb 23, 2017

Balochistan: Minorities Protest Forceful Implementation of CPEC

Photo Courtesy of Asia Pacific Star

Baloch activist Javed Mengal has stated that he believes Balochistan to be in a state of war, with the Pakistani authorities forcefully displacing people to clear land for a billion-dollar infrastructure project: the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This project is meant to connect Balochistan’s capital, Quetta, to the city of Kashgar, Xinjiang – home to the oppressed Uyghurs. The World Baloch Organisation, led by Mengal, organised a protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in London, against the human rights violations carried out for the construction of the CPEC and the sharp increase in the economic exploitation of Balochistan’s plentiful resources this infrastructure would cause. Baloch activists were joined by Sindh activists of the UNPO Member World Sindhi Congress, and carried banners reading slogans such as “China, Hands-Off Balochistan” and “No to CPEC”.


Below is an article published by DNA India:

Baloch activist Javed Mengal has said Balochistan is in state of war and added that the Pakistan Army is forcefully displacing people from their land in name of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The aim of our protests is to tell the Chinese government that the investment which they have done in the region in name of CPEC, Pakistan Army in name of the same project is displacing people forcefully from their land on the route of the CPEC in the region, Mengal told ANI.

He said a curfew was imposed in the region along the routes of CPEC to show to the world that there is peace in the region when two containers loaded with project goods were arriving in Pakistan from China, but, Balochistan is in state of war, he said.

The resistance against the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) reached London, when Baloch and Sindhi activists staged a protest outside the Chinese embassy on Tuesday.

Organised by the World Baloch Organisation, and led by Javed Mengal, the protesters shouted slogans against both China and Pakistan.

The Baloch were joined by Sindhi activists from the World Sindhi Congress.

The protesters were carrying banners saying "China Hands-off Balochistan", "Stop Baloch Genocide" and "No to CPEC".

People across Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) are raising concerns over 51.5 billion dollar China-led, multi-layered infrastructure project, which aims to connect Kashgar, in China's western province of Xinjiang, with the port of Gwadar in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

The road and rail network under the project traverses through Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, before terminating in Balochictan.

Though touted by the Pakistan government as a `game changer' there has been a relentless wave of opposition to the project from the local population in many parts of the country.

Some of the key project of the CPEC are being undertaken in Balochistan. Chief among them is the development of the Gwadar Port.

However, as China accelerates work on the port project and other aspects of the CPEC, opposition among the local people against them is mounting.

Baloch nationalist groups in the province, who have for years been demanding independence and have frequently clashed with the Pakistani army and establishment, have also called the opposition of the project.

People in the resource-rich province strongly believe that the CPEC will only result in the economic exploitation of Balochistan, with the people being reduced to a minority in their own land.