BALOCHISTAN: China is finding it tough to justify its many violations in Balochistan, besides destroying their environment and marine life, and denying jobs to locals. While the two governments are leaving no stone unturned to promote the benefits of the CPEC for Pakistan's economy, they are finding it increasingly difficult to justify the oppression of local dissent coming from the ethnic group within the region of Balochistan, from where a large portion of CPEC passes, reported Geo-politik.
A research paper published recently titled, 'Construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the BRI Vision: Opportunities, Challenges and Countermeasures' by Wang Junchao, a post-graduate student at the Centre for School of Anti-Terrorism of Northwest Politics and Law University, highlights the way the Chinese view the CPEC, or more appropriately, want to view the project. The existence of CPEC and its completion has been more frequently questioned now as the resistance against it has increased from both within Pakistan and outside it.
Pakistan's domestic security situation with respect to the CPEC has deteriorated, casting a shadow over the completion of its construction, reported Geo-politik. According to the paper, the people of Balochistan are about 4 million in number, being the lowest in terms of representation among the four main ethnic groups in the country.
There is a lack of opportunities available to Balochis with inadequate rights to participate in the decision-making process. This is because nearly 60 per cent of Pakistan's administrative resources are under the monopoly of people from the Punjab province, leaving little access for the Balochis to the Central Cabinet Ministry and other senior positions. Even within Balochistan, only 5 per cent of the police posts are held by Balochis, reported Geo-politik. The researcher acknowledges that the province of Balochistan is also one of the most resource-rich regions of the country, a fact that laughs in the face of the low standard of living and conflict-ridden life of the people there.
This has led to people feeling increasingly insecure about their future, reported Geo-politik. It is interesting that this research paper, coming from within China, is well aware that the construction of CPEC has made matters worse for the locals as the focus of Pakistan's government is now solely on the development of resources without paying much attention to the interests of the people.
It is not presenting a solution to any of their major concerns, hence, the opposition, reported Geo-politik. Both China and Pakistan are conveniently terming this continued resistance and fight for their rights as acts of terrorism by the locals.
Meanwhile, certain communication platforms have also been set up where deliberate attempts are being to use all potential mode, that is, newspapers, social platforms and news media to shape the public perception around China's national image and the BRI initiative. For this purpose, companies such as China International Radio, CCTV News and English channels, as well as the Xinhua news agency have set up shop in the region, participating in exchanges with the Pakistani industry, and have achieved considerable success in putting out false and misleading information, reported Geo-politik.
The Balochi people are rightly demanding their right to ownership and representation in the decisions that are being made about their land and resources. The Pakistani media, no doubt being funded by the Chinese, is completely ignoring this aspect of the game. The plan is to further step up the efforts by building socialist media confidence that 'proactively disseminates Chinese voices, and increasingly localizes the projection of Chinese words, gradually integrating the people along the corridor into China's discourse system.'