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Why China can't stop "Anti-China" Protests all across Balochistan at Gwadar against CPEC Projects.

Asia News: by NRI Herald Australia 25 November 2021

Pakistanis shouted anti-China slogans as they condemned PM Imran Khan’s government for allowing China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative.

China's livelihood rights Abuses in Balochistan

Pakistan on Tuesday (23 Nov 2021) witnessed massive protests in its port city of Gwada on the southwestern coast of Balochistan against the ongoing Chinese investments on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, ANI reported. Pakistanis shouted the anti-China and anti-Imran Khan slogans as they condemned the Pakistani Prime Minister-led government for allowing China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as they argued that the initiative will strip them off their livelihood and create the acute shortage of electricity and water within the region.

Local fishermen also protested against belligerent acts of Chinese trawlers that devoid them of fishing. Protests, organised by the political parties, civil rights activists, fishermen, have been ongoing for weeks at the Y Chowk on Port Road in Gwadar, a coastal town in the restive Southwest Balochistan province of Pakistan.

No Work for Balochis

Under the project, Pakistan surrendered Gwadar port to a Chinese-backed multinational corporation for a lease of 40 years. It is part of China’s belt and road initiative, which stretches across 70 countries to give China a clear trade route from east Asia to Europe.

The Pakistan government accepted China’s investment in the hope it would help boost the country’s ailing economy. But Balochistan is home to a long-running violent insurgency, and China’s presence in Gwadar has been the cause of much social unrest and led to great anti-Chinese sentiment.

Yet, in the years since China was granted a lease on Gwadar port, no work has begun on any such projects and instead locals say that China’s presence is undermining their livelihoods and creating local food shortages by allowing Chinese fishing boats to illegally fish in Pakistan’s waters around the port

Last month, Pakistan detained five Chinese trawlers on suspicion of illegal fishing not far from Gwadar port. Khudadad Waju, the president of Fisherfolk Alliance Gwadar, said it had sent a team of local fishers to examine the caught fish and they confirmed that “the fish were caught near Gwadar”. However, Chinese authorities denied that the detained Chinese trawlers were illegally fishing and claimed instead that they were sheltering from a storm.

Akbar Askani, the minister for fisheries for the Balochistan state government, alleged that the central government, which has close ties with China, was granting Chinese vessels licences to fish in the seas around Gwadar, despite the cost to the local community.

Balochis out on streets

Asserting their demands to the Imran Khan led government, the protesters stated that the Islamabad government must scrap unnecessary security check posts, ensure the availability of drinking water and electricity, and prevent the eviction of big fishing trawlers from Makran coast and opening of the border with Iran from Panjgur to Gwadar, a report carried by Jang newspaper revealed. Speaking with the local Pakistani outlets, the Head of the ‘Give rights to Gwadar’ rally Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman said that the Pakistan’s government has not been concerned about the demand of the citizens and must focus on meeting demands of the protesters. Else, he added, the demonstrations will continue. Rehman stressed criticising the Imran Khan government.

On Friday a suicide bomber killed two children, in an attack on Chinese nationals driving along the main expressway to the port, according to a senior Pakistani official.

“The suicide bomber was able to hit the last car of the convoy as it passed,” he said, confirming that two children died and a Chinese engineer was injured.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which like other militant groups in the region accuses Chinese of exploiting Balochistan’s mineral resources, and has previously attacked Chinese nationals and the Chinese consulate in Karachi.

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