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CPEC SHOCKER FOR BALOCHISTAN

Pakistan government have come out, probably with a Christmas gift for the people of Balochistan who are fast disappearing without any trace. The Gift is a disclosure in one of the recent presentation in Karachi that “CPEC has made no progress in any projects outside Gwadar and there is hardly anything to provide to the province as share in the overall portfolio of CPEC projects.

The fears of the locals, who have been protesting against the CPEC, proved true in the light of facts provided by the “CPEC Cell”, recently established by the Balochistan government with the help from the World Bank, to analyze and monitor the projects under CPEC in the province.

CPEC, which has been touted as a project which will work like a magic wand to control the fast deteriorating economic crisis in Pakistan, has nothing much to offer to the Baloch. The revelation has come as a shocker to the locals. CPEC is more than a US$62 billion flagship project which emphasizes regional connectivity through economic development. The One Belt One Road Initiative (OBORI) is viewed as the revival of the ancient Silk Route connecting mainland China with Asia, Africa and Europe and it encompasses 63 countries of three continents.

However, amongst the tall claims by the last govt and the Pakistan Army that CPEC will prove to be a game changer, the Cell has found that all projects connected with the western route have seen no progress whatsoever. As estimated earlier, Balochistan was ranked second in its share with US$7.1 billion initial investments in energy, transport, development of Gwadar city and port. However, that estimate remains a mere estimate as in reality the overall size of the portfolio of CPEC projects in Balochistan is miniscule where less than 9% of the total committed, around $5.5b billion, is for the province and less than $1bn has been spent in four years. The spending has been termed as a big joke with the total ire of the members of the Cell targeted towards the previous government.

It is learnt that the new governance is likely to revisit the various projects including Quetta Mass Transit and PAT feeder to Quetta water project. Earlier also after taking over as Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan had promised to review the projects to safeguard the interest of the people in Balochistan province, which is yet to materialize.

In the light of Pakistan Army’s ever increasing atrocities towards the local residents and constant protests within and outside the country by various anti-CPEC organizations like Free Balochistan Movement, Baloch Republican Party, and Balochistan Raaji Zrombesh, the new government needs to initiate suitable measures to fulfil its promises. Unless that happens, the protests will remain a common phenomenon which could be detrimental to the new government in general and to CPEC in particular.

11 Dec 18/Tuesday.                                                                 Written by Azadazraq

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