Tag Archives: Mega Projects

The mega follies

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

POLITICS is all about perception. If people believe that a policy is detrimental to their interests, not even a deluge of spin, arranged news conferences, full-page advertisements and assurances by its advocates is going to change that perception.

A majority of people in Balochistan view mega projects with extreme suspicion and certainly not without reason. The gaping divide between proclaimed intentions and reality completely undermines the already zero credibility of the government’s assurances in Balochistan regarding the people and its vast resources.

Gwadar, located on the southwestern coast of Balochistan, was granted to a Muscat sultan by the Khan of Kalat in 1783 and transferred to the mother province for £3m in 1958. At present, some 13 million barrels of oil pass by the port daily. Its strategic importance and economic potential has made it a favourite of many contending interests.

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“Our exploitation began the day when our land was conquered”

khalil-baloch1Collateral Damage magazine had the honour of interviewing Khalil Baloch, the Chairman of the Baloch National Movement, Balochistan’s largest nationalist party. The interview was conducted by Jahanzeb Hussain, the editor of Collateral Damage

Why is there widespread resentment in Balochistan against the mega projects such as the Gawadar port project?

First of all, I would like to clarify that Balochistan is a colony of Pakistan. Our exploitation began the day when our land was conquered and turned into a colony. From plundering our resources to denying us our cultural rights, the colonial state posses all the tools of exploitation. The mega projects that you have mentioned are also part of the colonial exploitation. On one hand, the Pakistani state wants to capture rent by letting China access global markets through the warm-water port of Gawadar and, on the other hand, the state wants to alter the demographic balance of Balochistan in order to turn us into strangers in our own lands.

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