Berlin, [Germany] August 11 : Exiled Baloch leaders and activists on Friday gathered in Germany’s Berlin city to voice their concern against the under construction multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The event titled “China’s One Belt One Road Initiative – Its adverse impact on Balochistan & the region” has been organized by the European branch of Baloch National Movement(BNM), a Baloch nationalist political group.
Dr Zaffar Baloch, the Organiser of the Baloch National Movement in North America said, “The message is very clear, the people of Balochistan demand China and Pakistan to get out of Balochistan. Balochistan is not a part of Pakistan and it has no right to sign any agreement with China that has anything to do with Balochistan. So, we want them out”.
The event attended by experts, analysts, journalists, economists and policy makers also discussed the impact of economic corridor in the region.
People in Balochistan, Pakistan’s resource rich province, are opposing CPEC, which runs mostly through the region. Balochistan is in the throes of a popular movement for self-determination that is gathering intensity.
For the indigenous Baloch people, the CPEC is seen as a threat. As the CPEC gets implemented in Balochistan, there is a fear of a massive inflow of migrants from different areas of Pakistan which will change the demography of Balochistan and reduce the Baloch people to a permanent minority in their historic homeland.
Hammal Haider, the foreign secretary of the Baloch National Movement, said, “China is very aggressive towards its `One Belt One Road’ policy and it’s not taking care of human rights violations which Pakistan is committing in Balochistan. China is very aggressive, but the problem is the European countries are reluctant to say anything. The purpose of the conference is to raise awareness and to engage the good people of European countries and raise their voices against China’s aggressive policies.”
Nevertheless, Chinese footprints are on increase in Pakistan and inroads into Balochistan is becoming increasingly visible.
In order to provide security to Chinese facilities, Pakistan is raising special security groups and intensifying army operations in Balochistan.
China came up with its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative in 2013, and during the last four years, it has displayed its willingness to follow through on its plans.
It is gaining traction as more and more countries from around the world are joining OBOR. This was evident in the May 2017 meeting in beijing where the Chinese President called it the “project of the century”. The OBOR is now being renamed as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to overcome the limitations of the earlier nomenclature, “One belt one road”, because it is expected to involve many roads and many belts.
The initiative involves investment of about $4 trillion or more as it is in an ever-expanding mode and more and more countries are joining it in the hope of reaping trade and commercial dividends out of massive infrastructure bring built around Asia, Europe and Africa to facilitate flow of goods and services.
China aims to be at the centre of a massive economic transformation such grand initiative would galvanize.
The project seeks to enable a 21st century “Silk Route”, comprising both overland and maritime access routes through installation of new, as well as up gradation of existing transport and communication infrastructure in countries hoping to reap the dividends.