'CPEC is nothing more than a military project by China': Mehran Marri
Representative of Balochistan at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Mehran Marri dubbed the multi-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a military project by Beijing which it would later use against the United States and gulf nations.
"The CPEC is nothing more than a military project by China to have its footprint and have a listening post at the Strait of Hormuz to threaten and blackmail the U.S., the gulf states, all the OPEC nations in the future. CPEC is a disaster in the making," Marri told ANI adding that they have been vehemently opposing this project for for the past 10 years.
He added that the project is also causing a humanitarian crisis as it is having a detrimental effect on the locals of Balochistan.
"It's a joint exploitation project by Pakistan and China not only for exploiting our natural resources, but, also exploitation of our human resource. The Baloch people have been displaced without any provision to make way for the CPEC projects," said MArri.
Dr. Siegfried O. Wolf, Director of Research, South Asia Democratic Forum expressed similar concerns saying the project will lead to militarisation of Balochistan.
"The CPEC has a multi-layered, multi-dimensional impact in Balochistan. First of all, due to the security situation, it will lead to the militarisation of Balochistan. High number of military personnel is already there and we can expect much more. This thing is already going on as we all know that there are additional security forces dedicated for the situation in Balochistan. We will perhaps have more Chinese security personnel," Wolf told ANI.
He added the project will also lead to severe economic distortion as there will be a lot of new foreign companies coming in which will of course be a competition for local companies.
"These will have a negative impact on the local traders. Also, there will be more people coming from outside (migrate) which can lead to outnumbering of Baloch people," he added.
The CPEC is a 51.5 billion dollar project that aims to connect Kashgar, in China's western province of Xinjiang, with the port of Gwadar in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.
People in the resource-rich province strongly believe that the CPEC will only result in the economic exploitation of Balochistan, with the people being reduced to a minority in their own land.