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Is CPEC a game changer for Balochistan?

By: Rafiullah

China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a new hope for the change. Optimists are viewing the project as a recipe for the development and making of Pakistan as an Asian Tiger. Epicenter of the project is the Gwadar, a deep sea port. It is forecasted that the project will yank the poverty stricken province out of the abyss of poverty and will put it on the track of progress and prosperity. There is no denial of the fact that CPEC is huge economic oriented project and game changer for Pakistan but the question is whether it will be a game changer for Balochistan too?

After the signing of agreement between China and Pakistan, a wave of glee and joy pervaded through the width and length of the motherland, especially in Balochistan, it is perceived as a game changer for the fate and luck of the masses. Academic debates were initiated in the province about how this project will open the doors of employment and jobs for the people. It is fact that the project is huge and a real game changer for Balochistan, if the province is not neglected by those who are at the helm of affairs.

Events that followed the agreement evinced the dangerous and ill whims and wishes of those setting at top notch of decision making. Agreement was signed in 2013, no body other than Punjab government knows anything regarding the terms and conditions, number of macro and micro projects included, route and various phases for conversion of the dream of CPEC into reality. Later on pressure from political parties compelled and forced the two brothers to uncover the reality of CPEC. Two routes were proposed Eastern and Western, former in the favor of Punjab and the later in the underdeveloped areas of other provinces. Preferable route was western but it is diverted to eastern one. Such behavior of the Punjab leadership creates cynicism and skepticism regarding the acronym of CPEC whether the P stands for Pakistan or Punjab?

 The resources of the province are exploited and people are duped time and again. Sidak and Rikodeq projects are testimonies to the exploitative and venal behavior of the stakeholders. Gas, copper, gold and Silver and many more resources are extracted from the province and in return what the they gave to the people of Balochistan is poor education, poor health facilities, unemployment, poverty and tag the label of being backward, uncivilized and anti-state. Federal is not the sole responsible for the pathetic condition of Balochistan but our own leaders too have equal share in our backwardness, poverty and ill-facilities in every field of life. If Sindak project is in the hand of Center but the Rikodiq was signed by Balochistan government. Whether decisions regarding the resources of Balochistan is made by Federal or our own government, common people are still deprived of its benefits and advantages.

The very sentence that, “Balochistan is a rich province regarding resources but still it is very backward and poverty-stricken province”. This sentence has embodied many things, of which the most important and pivotal one is that our resources are exploited relentlessly.

Time to raise voice for our own rights, compel both provincial and central leadership, your time is up and don’t make us dupe anymore but provide us basic facilities. If we remain silent, we will be exploited and rendered poor, on one side the people of Gwadar don’t have clean water for drinking, on the other side it is the center of $46 billion project.

Published in The Balochistan Point on March 2, 2017

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the writer and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.

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