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Tag Archives: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

India mixes Kashmir with Balochistan

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Whenever Kashmir conflict begins to pressure India, it invites Baloch dissents and provides them requisite logistics & platform to malign Pakistan. As part of this campaign “Times of India” carried a lengthy interview of self-styled Professor Naela Quadri Baloch on May 02. She said about Baloch insurgency: “It is freedom struggle; we were occupied by Pakistan on March 27, 1948 and ever since we have been fighting against Pakistan to free ourselves. Balochistan was never a part of India or Iran or Afghanistan or any other country. Balochistan was always independent. So an independent country was occupied.” To a question as to how Balochistan’s freedom struggle is different from the separatist movement in Kashmir, she said: “Kashmir was never a country; it was a princely state under a Maharaja. Kashmir was always a part of greater India. It is an established fact that the northern areas of Balochistan including Bolan Pass, Quetta, Nushki and Naseerabad were leased out to Britain, which were later named as British Balochistan. However, more importantly, the Khan of Kallat had voluntarily acceded to Pakistan.The 13th OIC Summit, held in Istanbul from 10-15 April, called on India to implement pending UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, and called upon the United Nations for implementation of the Security Council’s relevant Resolutions on Kashmir. It called upon India to allow the OIC Fact Finding Mission and the international human rights groups and humanitarian organizations access to IOK. Indian leadership needs to recognize the Kashmir is Kashmir and Balochistan is Balochistan. The difference is well understood by the comity of nations. Such Indian gimmicks would neither make Kashmir a part of India nor would stall China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

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CPEC: JIGSAW takes shapes in Balochistan

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Balochistan would remain the soft belly of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for a decade or two. And in this context, the current security sate in Balochistan is likely to stay by and large the same. Internal disturbance and foreign interference are likely to continue. Direct and indirect foreign interference is likely to remain a potent facto. Therefore, security of the infrastructure has to be planned and executed in a comprehensive way, not only in terms of gun and bullet but also in terms of community participation. Security of personnel working on the CPEC related projects could only be achieved by making the local population stakeholders in these projects through Corporate Social Responsibility offset projects. From political perspective, the things are moving in the right direction. Mid-term political transition has been smooth and without any blame game. Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri has once again extended an invitation to self-exiled Baloch leaders to the negotiating table for resolving political issues and building on the reconciliatory approach of the government. This process needs to be accelerated to build on past breakthroughs. Narratives that engage the stakeholders rather than isolate them are key to stability. Politics of violence have hurt Balochistan, and the use of force brings nothing but destruction. Time is ripe for a new beginning, while at the same time window of opportunity may not be unlimited.Implementation of CPEC can also help overcome a number of problems of Balochistan and therefore, it is incumbent upon the political parties not to create hurdles in the way of execution of various projects under its umbrella. If socio-economic environment of the province is changed, then there would also be no no-go area there and this would, in return, help promote national unity and harmony. Balochistan, despite being the largest, remains the least developed, least secure of Pakistan’s provinces; with poorest Human Resource Development Indicators in the world. CPEC has the potential of reversing all these miseries. In the broader context, it is a century long project that would eventually inter-connect Asia-Europe-Africa under the broader umbrella of One Belt One Road (OBOR). Finances are readily available through Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank that has a projected equity of US$ 200; other major financial institutions have also shown interest in investing in CPEC projects.

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Pakistan’s Emerging neighbourhood

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During the last month, President Xi Jinping made two high-profile visits to Asian countries—Pakistan and Indonesia—which is indicative of China’s push for regional outreach, from East Asia to West Asia. While in Islamabad, Xi unveiled China’s biggest aid and investment package for a single country. And while in Jakarta he had a detailed meeting with Myanmar President U Thein Sein. …

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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Sidestepping Obstacles

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Presumably, all political parties have a consensus that they will not do anything that could derail the Chinese investment in the country. In this context, cardinal point is peace in Balochistan. National leadership will have to keep a special vigil on all direct and indirect attempts to create wedge between people and leadership of Balochistan and the federal government.Success and long term sustainability of economic cooperation with China would largely depend on how effectively and speedily Pakistan can implement these projects and utilize new investment windows such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund.It is all easier said than done, onus of creating conducive environment is on Pakistan. And Pakistan should do its part on fast track. First and foremost is a diplomatic campaign to allay the fears of neighbouring countries that the economic corridor is against the interest of any third country. Second, approach Iran and UAE for joint management of three ports—Chabahar, Dubai and Gwadar. Third, strengthening the national consensus about advantages of the corridor. Fourth, taking the Baloch leadership and public on board so that province could benefit from the project. Despite efforts by three successive governments, 450 Kilometers stretch of road from Gwadar up northwards has not yet been constructed due to law and order situation. Ethnic Baloch rebels, who oppose Gwadar's development, have in the past blown up numerous gas pipelines and trains and attacked Chinese engineers. The rebels want to scare off investors and developers who are working with the Pakistani government -- such as the Chinese. They are being lavishly funded by India, they use Afghan soil as sanctuaries and launching pads. Suppression of rebellion by force has proven dicey. The political process to resolve the issue need to be strengthened and fast tracked. Window of opportunity is not unlimited for the leadership and people of Balochistan. If the portion of the road planned for Balochistan does not come up within a reasonable timeframe, alternative routes may be followed; if so, the province’s benefits from the economic corridor shall stand significantly curtailed. Notwithstanding the setting up of special security outfit for the corridor, ultimate key to sustainable security rests with the local population adjoining the corridor and its associated projects. Sustained economic cooperation with China is in the best national interest; and national leadership owes it to next generation, let’s not make another Kalabagh dam out of it.

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