Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CPEC posing a regional threat, says Baloch activist

ANI | Updated: Nov 22, 2017 17:19IST

Geneva [Switzerland], Nov.22 (ANI): The multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) not only poses a threat to any community, but to the entire region, says Ali Akbar Mengal, a Baloch activist.

Beijing believes this economic corridor is important link to its larger Silk Road Initiative to enhance economic cooperation between Asia and Europe.

However, in Pakistan's Balochistan province the locals are opposing the project by calling it a strategy to exploit the resources and destroy the ethnic culture.

Balochistan is the home to the deep water port of Gwadar - the key strategic interest behind the construction of road and rail infrastructure that will connect China's Xinjiang - home to the oppressed Uyghurs - to the Arabian Sea.

Ali Akbar Mengal, a Baloch activistsaid, "The total population of Gwadar is around 20 thousand. Since its forceful occupation over Balochsitan, it remains Pakistan's policy not to open any technical training or educational institutions to keep them backward and occupy their resources. In Gawadar, the Baloch are not well educated. We fear that China and Pakistan wants to capture the entire region by expanding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Not only Baloch, the CPEC raises an alarming bell for all countries in the entire region".

Balochistan is one of the resource-rich regions in South Asia but its inhabitants live in abject poverty.

The province has natural resources worth over a trillion dollar including gold, copper, black pearl, oil, coal, natural gas and other reserves.

Despite all, the human development index of Balochistan is lowest in all over Pakistan. There are no hospitals and colleges for the welfare of indigenous people.

"In entire Balochistan province there is only one university, where as in Punjab's one city there exists 7 to 8 universities. Baloch youth have realized that they have no future in Pakistan. Now, Baloch are mobilized to take freedom from Pakistan. Since they have got mobilized, Pakistan has started `kill and dump policy'. Now, female Baloch students are coming forward to demand freedom as they have realized that their future in Pakistan is not safe", said, Mengal.

Pakistan's campaign to implement CPEC has been ruthless, with local inhabitants forcefully cleared and any voice of dissent silenced.

Paramilitary and state agencies have for years systematically violated human rights, among which numerous cases of enforced disappearances, abductions and extrajudicial killings.

Alongside the Pakistani authorities crushing anything interpreted as dissent, locals are increasingly concerned about the massive influx of Chinese military in the region, initially announced as for the protection of the Chinese personnel on the ground.

Furthermore, despite authorities advertising CPEC as a project that will benefit the local population significantly, the project is in fact under complete control of the authorities in Beijing and Islamabad, without any local governance. (ANI

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sindh, Balochistan governments fail to satisfy citizens: survey


Manzar Elahi
Sajjad Haider

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017

KARACHI: A large majority of Pakistanis are dissatisfied with the performance of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP)-led Sindh government and Balochistan provincial government led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

This was revealed in the results of the nationwide Jang Geo News Poll conducted last month in collaboration with Gallup Pakistan and Pulse Consultants.

Results from the Gallup Pakistan survey showed that a large majority of Pakistanis are unhappy with the performance of the provincial government in Sindh.

46% of the respondents from across the country said they were dissatisfied, while only 22% said they were satisfied with the Sindh provincial government.

However, looking at respondents residing in Sindh, almost half (49%) said they were dissatisfied with the provincial government's performance. Only 35% of Sindh-based respondents said they were satisfied.

The Pulse Consultants survey showed similar results, with 35% respondents from across Pakistan and 45% from Sindh saying they were dissatisfied with the Sindh government's performance. 21% respondents from across Pakistan and 30% from Sindh said they were satisfied with the provincial government.

Interestingly, 43% of Sindhi-speaking respondents said they unhappy with the performance of the PPP-led provincial government.

Similar to Sindh, a large majority of Pakistanis appeared to be unhappy with the performance of the Balochistan government.

According to the Gallup Pakistan survey, only 13% of Balochistan residents said they were satisfied, while 66% said they were dissatisfied with the performance of the provincial government.

From across Pakistan, around 39% respondents said they were unhappy, while 17% said they were satisfied with the Balochistan provincial government's performance.

The Pulse Consultants survey showed a similar result, with only 16% respondents from across Pakistan saying they were satisfied and 28% said they were dissatisfied with the Balochistan government.

However, 57% of the Balochistan residents interviewed by Pulse Consultants said they were satisfied and 31% were unhappy with the Balochistan provincial government's performance.

Note from Editor/Disclaimer: The Jang-Geo-News poll is carried out regularly on a national level according to internationally recognised principles of scientific polling. Large media houses across the world carry out these surveys to assess the perception and opinions of the public.

In order to make it more balanced and transparent, the Jang-Geo-News poll was carried out in collaboration with two different research agencies—Gallup Pakistan, one of the renowned survey companies in Pakistan, and Pulse Consultant, one of the fastest growing research agencies in the country.

The results represent public opinion computed on the basis of views expressed by anonymous respondents selected randomly and interviewed face-to-face. Such surveys contain a margin of error, and should not be taken as a basis for casting votes.

The combined sample size of the study was more than 6,000 households. Gallup Pakistan carried out the survey from October 10 to November 1 using an error margin of +-2 to 3% at 95% confidence level, while the parallel research by Pulse Consultant was conducted from Oct 8 to Oct 25 with a margin of error of 1.62% at 95% confidence level

Karachi: Demonstration held against shortage of drinking water in Gwadar

By: Shoaib Durrazai

KARACHI: Residents of Gwadar and members of Civil Society Gwadar held a demonstration against shortage of drinking water here on Monday outside Karachi Press Club (KPC).

The protesters had arrived from Gwadar to Karachi covering 700km distance just to raise the issue.
Addressing the protest, speakers said that Balochistan government had completely failed to provide drinking water to the people of Gwadar.

The protesters said that the residents of Gwadar had been facing water shortage for last six months. They questioned the international status of City port Gwadar, as there was no drinking water for the people.

Present in the demonstration residents of Gwadar, members of and political activists appealed to Prime Minister to take notice of this serious issue and resolve it instantly.

Published in The Balochistan Point on November 21, 2017

Balochistan FC kills two terrorists in Turbat operation


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TURBAT: Balochistan Frontier Constabulary (FC) conducted Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) in Tump area of Turbat on a terrorist hideout in which two terrorists were apprehended.

During the operation 18 hostages, including two Pakistani and 16 foreigners (Nigerian and Yemeni) hostages, were also recovered. A large quantity of arms and ammunition, including IEDs, had also been recovered from the terrorists hide out.

In another operation, FC conducted an IBO in village Panodi, located 25 kilometres from Balnigur in Makran. Two terrorists belonging to a proscribed organisation were killed in the operation. During exchange of fire with terrorists, Sepoy Nasir Mehmood embraced martyrdom while two other soldiers sustained injuries.

These terrorists were involved in different activities, including destroying a bridge on M-8, planting IEDs and attacks on security forces

HRCP warns of media curbs in Balochistan


QUETTA: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) warned of shrinking press freedom in Balochistan a month after a series of media outlets restricted activities following threats from militants.

Journalists in Balochistan said they were approached earlier this year by authorities who asked them to stop publishing statements by Baloch separatist groups.

After they did so the insurgents warned newspapers and private television channels of dire consequences for halting coverage of their activities.

The situation remains tense in the province where newspaper distribution is confined to 18 out of 34 districts, largely areas where the militants have little to no presence.

"In an already coercive environment where there are numerous restraints and threats to freedom of expression, the current suspension of newspapers only further exacerbates the situation," Mehdi Hassan, the chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said in a statement.

"In the prevailing circumstances HRCP calls on all sides to immediately desist from any activities that directly threaten journalists, newspaper employees and hawkers and their livelihoods."

Pakistan is routinely ranked among the world´s most unsafe countries for reporters, and Amnesty International has singled out Balochistan for the deadly pressure journalists face there.

Rights groups say activists and journalists often find themselves caught between the security establishment and militant groups.

Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is Pakistan´s most restive province and afflicted by militancy and sectarian violence as well as the separatist insurgency.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), around 40 journalists have been murdered in the province since the start of the current conflict in 2006

Trump’s Vision for Asia Collides With Xi’s

Posted to Politics November 21, 2017 byB.Z. Khasru

Two regional trade strategies — one from the United States and the other from China, reflecting competing geostrategic visions for Asia — clashed in Vietnam, where Asia-Pacific leaders met recently to talk business.

In a defiant address at the forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies in Da Nang, the coastal city where the first American troops landed in 1965 to protect the nearby U.S. air base as the Vietnam War began to escalate, President Donald Trump repeatedly used the term Indo-Pacific — instead of calling the region by its traditional name Asia-Pacific — to outline America’s new strategy for Asia.

Trump’s vision, intended to usher India into the group of APEC nations as a counterweight to China, will be on a collision course with President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road, a signature Chinese initiative to connect the middle kingdom with Central and Southeast Asian countries.

Japan originally conceived the idea of Asian democracies joining forces against an assertive communist China in 2007. The concept made its way into a joint statement by Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year. India, Japan and Vietnam have longstanding border and maritime disputes with Beijing. China’s bold foreign policy has sent them all scurrying for new alliances to protect their interests.

America denies it seeks to put China into a box, insisting its new game plan is just a recognition of India’s growing importance to America’s security and prosperity. However, in an indirect jab at China, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month described India as America’s ideal reliable partner to defend “unhindered access to the planet’s shared spaces, be they on land, at sea, or in cyberspace.”

Delhi is eager to forge closer ties with America as well as Japan and Vietnam to fortify its defenses against China, which crushed India in a short war in 1962. Indeed, it may have already achieved a symbolic success. In its latest standoff with China in June, India successfully scuttled Beijing’s attempt to build a road near the disputed Bhutanese border, showing off its resolve to stand its ground. Japan supported Delhi during India’s recent blowup with China.

No doubt, a successful realignment in Asia pitting India, Japan and Vietnam against China will make Beijing sober. But history indicates it will require shaking off Asia’s mindset for this idea to take hold.

Two underlying currents influence the Asians when they deal with America: their past unpleasant experience with colonial Europe and the Vietnam War. Many Asians see America as the reincarnation of imperial Europe.

The Chinese and the Indians find common ground on Europe’s hegemony, a sore point that led India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to bond with New China, shunning courtship with America. China can use this reality to its advantage to keep its neighbors from joining hands with a distant United States.

Last year, after blasting America, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte extended friendship toward China, despite having maritime disputes with Beijing. Under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India balked at continuing naval exercises with the United States after protests from China and Indian communists. In September, Xi told Modi, who has tilted toward the United States departing from India’s nonaligned tradition, that “healthy, stable” China-India ties were necessary. All this reflects strong desires among many Asians to work together.

Beijing may also seek to exploit fears in Asia about Washington’s reliability as a partner, pointing to the fact that the Americans packed up and left South Vietnam in 1975. What will the United States do in the event of a rematch with China?

One clue came from Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this year discounted America as Europe’s partner going forward. She commented after Trump bashed Berlin for trade deficits, exactly the way he slapped Japan and South Korea last week.

India has had bitter experiences, too. After an initial courtship, Delhi painfully watched the Obama administration drifting away to Beijing to overcome the 2008 global economic crisis. This created a perception of an emerging U.S.-China G-2 alliance, leading many Indians to wonder whether America considered India’s rise was in U.S. strategic interest.

Japan has its doubts as well. During his re-election campaign in September, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told voters that Japan could no longer ensure the survival of the nation, its people and its heirs by putting its faith on allies whose commitments were uncertain and whose leaders were more concerned with rallies, opinion polls and the next election than their obligations to Japan.

America must balance between India and China, at least for now, to deal with North Korea and to keep bilateral trade going. But India wants to be assured the United States will not favor China as a more reliable partner. Washington, too, needs to be sure it can rely on Delhi to help manage difficult global issues, including free navigation in the Indian Ocean, a vital waterway many fear China wants to control.

The Chinese hold mixed views of Trump’s new posture. The official line is to dismiss it as an old concept, but they know it could complicate their geostrategic plan, given it is backed by Japan’s economic muscle, India’s growth momentum and Australia’s China fears.

About the Author

B.Z. Khasru

B.Z. Khasru is editor of The Capital Express in New York and author of “Myths and Facts Bangladesh Liberation War” and “The Bangladesh Military Coup and the CIA Link

ASEAN’s changing posture toward China

NOV 21, 2017

In recent years, China’s militarization efforts in the South China Sea took center stage in discussions at regular meetings between leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its partners such as the United States, Japan and China. But ASEAN members took a softer approach on the issue at the meetings held last week in Manila and were reluctant to dwell on it.

This does not mean that China has changed its behavior. Beijing has pushed land reclamation and the construction of ports, runways and radar facilities on islands it built in disputed territories in the area. The 10 members of ASEAN should unite and pursue serious negotiations with China with the goal of establishing an effective code of conduct for the South China Sea to eliminate tensions in the area. China, for its part, should respect the rule of law and restrain its activities there.

Every year since 2014, when a Chinese government ship collided with a Vietnamese government vessel in the South China Sea, the ASEAN summit chairman’s statement expressed “serious concerns” over China’s conduct in the South China Sea including its land reclamations and “escalation of activities” in the area.

The previous Philippine government of President Benigno Aquino was at the forefront of a camp of ASEAN members that criticized China’s aggressive behavior aimed at establishing effective control of the disputed territories. In 2013, the Philippines took the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Last year, the court rejected China’s claims of historical rights over most of the South China Sea — a ruling that Beijing has refused to accept.

But since Rodrigo Duterte, elected president of the Philippines in 2016, became chair of the ASEAN summit for 2017, the tone of the chairman’s statement has changed. The statement released in April used a softer language in its section on the South China Sea: “We took note of concerns expressed by some leaders over recent developments in the area.” Last week’s statement did not mention “concerns” at all and instead “took note of the improving relations between ASEAN and China.”

Apparently behind the ASEAN statements’ altered tone vis-a-vis China’s behavior in the South China Sea are China’s success in winning the Philippines and some other ASEAN members over to its side through economic cooperation, as well as changes in the posturing of the United States and Japan toward China for their own reasons. China promised large amount of economic aid to the Philippines when Duterte visited Beijing for talks with President Xi Jinping in October last year, when they reached an agreement that both countries will shelve the South China Sea dispute.

During his tour in Asia, U.S. President Donald Trump gave priority to his country’s economic interests under his “America first” policy. In his meeting with ASEAN leaders, Trump repeatedly called for applying pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, but is not believed to have discussed the South China Sea issue at all.

In the ASEAN plus three meeting involving leaders of the group and Japan, China and South Korea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly refrained from touching on the South China Sea issue. As momentum builds for improving the strained Tokyo-Beijing relationship, Abe is said to have attached importance on arranging a trilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang — who was also in attendance at the talks — and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Tokyo at an early date. Such a trilateral summit has not been held since November 2015.

In 2002, ASEAN and China adopted the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which called on the parties concerned to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means without resorting to the threat or use of force. The next step is adopting a code of conduct for the South China Sea, which has yet to materialize.

The ASEAN summit chairman’s statement last week “reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, maritime safety and security, rule-based order and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea” and “emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states.”

It is clear that any code of conduct to be concluded by ASEAN and China should have legally binding power to achieve the goals mentioned by the statement. The negotiations should never be done in a perfunctory matter. ASEAN and China must reconfirm the principle that the rule of law is the prerequisite for peace and prosperity and work out an agreement incorporating concrete steps that will implement the principle in the South China Sea in a visible manner

One Belt, One Road: 'Colonial power' fears limiting Australia, Labor warns, as China signs PNG deals


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VIDEO 1:29 

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and China President Xi Jinping in Vietnam last week.


Papua New Guinea has signed a series of infrastructure deals with China as part of Beijing's One Belt, One Road initiative, the PNG Government has announced, with an intention to create "more efficient trade corridors between Asia-Pacific and Western Asia".

Key points:

PNG signs three infrastructure deals with China as part of the One Belt, One Road planPNG says China's support will be remembered long into the futureShadow defence minister warns Australian caution in the Pacific is leaving us at a loss

"As this [One Belt, One Road] initiative grows we are seeing infrastructure improvements across many developing countries," a statement from Prime Minister Peter O'Neill's office read.

The statement released yesterday by PNG said that three deals had been signed designed to enhance agriculture, transport and utility delivery to remote areas of PNG as well as help people engage more actively in the economy.

"I thank the Government of China and the China Railway Company for their ongoing commitment to Papua New Guinea," the statement added.

"Your support for Papua New Guinea will be remembered long into the future."

The announcement of the deals comes amid warnings from the Opposition that Australia is risking losing influence to global powers, particularly China, because it has failed to live up to its leadership role in the Pacific.

Shadow defence minister Richard Marles gave a speech today at the Lowy Institute in which he stressed that the Pacific is Australia's "biggest national security blind spot", and added that fears of being an "overbearing colonial power" are wrongly holding us back from effectively engaging with Pacific countries.

We asked if you thought Australia was risking losing influence to global powers because of its caution in the Pacific.

'The country that cares most will have biggest impact'

PHOTO Mr O'Neill meets with officials from China Railroad Group before signing the deals.


"In considering our actions in the Pacific, often I feel there is an instinct not to act in the manner of an overbearing colonial power," Mr Marles said in his speech.

"This sentiment is well-motivated, but it is wrong. And moreover it risks becoming an excuse for inaction.

PHOTO Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles is expected to announce Labor's "Pacific pledge" tonight.

"Pacific island countries have choices about with whom they partner. That we will always be the partner of choice is not a proposition we can take for granted.

"The country that cares the most will have the biggest impact."

Xi's speech light on detail


Speaking to the ABC's Pacific Beat program, Mr Marles explained that while Australia has a "significant commitment" in the Pacific, in terms of thinking about the future and strategy moving forward, "we need to do more".

"And it needs to be much more of a focused and mainstream part of our national security and foreign policy, as opposed to it being an [important but] niche area in terms of Australia's world view," he said.

"I would very much like to see that change where the Pacific becomes as central a feature of what we think and strategise about as any of the other key relationships we have, such as with the United States and China."

Mr Marles announced at the Lowy Institute a "Pacific pledge" by Labor to be "the best friend we can possibly be".

"Making a pledge to the Pacific would also let the rest of the world know that we are serious about our responsibilities in the Pacific and mean to be present," Mr Marles' said

Balochistan’s troubled landscape


The discovery of the bullet-riddled bodies of 20 young men from Punjab within three days in Balochistan has evoked anger, condemnation, and calls for 'revenge', cleaving the ethnic divide in the country wider open. Now the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar has taken suo motu notice and ordered the Inspector General of Police Balochistan and the Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency to submit a report within three days, underlining the steps being taken by the security forces in the province to curb such incidents. With due respect, the CJP should also perhaps spare a thought for the thousands of disappeared Baloch and the hundreds of tortured, bullet-riddled bodies dumped all over Balochistan over the years. There is anger and resentment on that side too, which arguably leads to such tragedies.

The death of innocents is always painful. But while we offer condolences to the families of the recently deceased, let us pause for a moment to reflect on the manner in which the dead persons are being lauded by the state authorities. Recovering the bodies and delivering them to their dear ones for burial is the appropriate thing to do. But draping their coffins in the national flag, almost as though they were shaheeds (martyrs) in some noble national cause forgets that they were breaking the law of the land in seeking to emigrate illegally to Europe via Iran. The sole survivor of the killings has returned home without any sign that any action under the law is contemplated against him. All this of course follows if one has made up one's mind that they were indeed illegal would-be immigrants and not the workers of the Frontier Works Organisation working on CPEC projects as asserted by the nationalist insurgent organisation the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) of Dr Allah Nazar, which claimed the killing of at least the first batch of 15 killed. Subsequently, the evidence suggests that they were indeed nothing but would-be illegal immigrants.

Human trafficking of poor young men from some districts of Punjab to greener climes via illegal border crossing is rife. The pressures of unemployment or lowly paid employment, vistas of visible prosperity of those lucky enough to have made it abroad, the wiles and lures of unscrupulous human smugglers whose conviction rate is so abysmal as to be sneezed at, all combine to fill the ranks of this 'underground railroad'. However, as this and earlier incidents indicate, the path through the troubled province of Balochistan is not free of risk.

The state and the Balochistan government's narrative revolves around the allegation that the nationalist insurgency is a purely India-backed and -funded movement intended to damage the CPEC project. The Balochistan government in particular has lately taken to conflating nationalist insurgent violence and equating it to the terrorist activities of Mulla Fazlullah of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The distinction, however, between the two is both stark and necessary to understand. Whereas the TTP is a fanatical homegrown outgrowth of the tribes of FATA hosting first the Afghan Mujahideen and later the Afghan Taliban over the last four decades and represents a millennial aspiration to return to the glorious past of Muslim power (in the Islamic State vocabulary, the 'Caliphate'), the religious extremist nature and character of such movements and their indiscriminate use of terror renders any negotiated settlement with them impossible. They have to be fought with force. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has knocked them onto the back foot but not entirely eliminated them as they have fled across the Afghan border and found bases in the poorly policed area on both sides of the divide. From there, they mount sporadic attacks on the military and security forces guarding the border on our side.

The Baloch nationalist insurgency however, is a very different kettle of fish. This fifth insurgency in Balochistan since Independence started in 2002, sparked off at the time by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), led by their slain leader and son of the late Nawab Khair Buksh Marri, Balach Marri. Currently it is said to be under the control of his younger brother, Harbiyar Marri, who reportedly lives in exile in London.

Why has the youth of Balochistan take to arms virtually in every generation over the last 70 years? This is a long and sorry tale, but briefly, the problem began with the forced annexation of the tribal confederacy of Balochistan soon after Independence and resulted in nationalist resistance and insurgencies in 1948, 1958-62, 1962-69, 1973-77 and 2002 to date. Each time, the common thread was grievances of the Baloch centring on rights of self-determination, harsh treatment of dissidents, critics and rebels (including kidnappings, terrible tortures in internment camps and extrajudicial executions), resentment at poor and underdeveloped Balochistan's natural resources being siphoned off for the benefit of the state without adequate share, compensation or representation of the Baloch (e.g. Sui gas, gold, copper, minerals, etc), and now increasingly resentment at Balochistan's territory and Gwadar Port serving CPEC without any visible benefit to the locals. Even if one argues that the peculiar circumstances surrounding the Partition and Independence of the subcontinent produced the impatient mindset that rode roughshod over the aspirations for independence or autonomy of Balochistan, the treatment of its people ever since has culminated in the demand for separation today through the lengthy labyrinth of peaceful (and parliamentary) struggles for rights, due representation, a just share in the resources of the province and redressal of the approach that sees only the knout and the bayonet as the solution to Balochistan's troubles.

The difference therefore, between the terrorism of the TTP and the struggle of the Baloch people for justice and rights is the difference between a fanatical, non-persuadable-by-rational-argument terrorist movement pure, and an armed guerrilla resistance that has a political agenda. Of course the latter errs when it kills innocent poor people caught up in the maelstrom of violence that afflicts the province. Neither does it do its just cause much good, nor does it reflect the necessary understanding on the part of the guerrillas that the poor people of Punjab are not the enemy. It is the ruling elite, in which admittedly the Punjabi ruling elite has an overwhelming share, that oppresses and exploits the ethnic groups and poor classes all over the country. If the BLF and other insurgent groups were to take a leaf out of the Vietnamese people's heroic struggle against first French colonialism and then US imperialism, in which they always distinguished between the people and state of the aggressor, they would advance their cause better and avoid their being simply dumped in the terrorist basket.

This difference between terrorism and guerrilla resistance suggests that the use of force approach, which has yielded the fifth insurgency to date, needs revisiting. If India is involved, for which there are loud allegations but so far little concrete proof or evidence, it is because our house is on fire. If we could find the wisdom and means to douse this fire within the four corners of the constitution and law, no outsider can make mischief in our internal affairs.

Precedents for resolving long running conflicts exist. In recent times, the almost six-decade-old Colombian guerrilla war has yielded to a peaceful political solution. All it needs is the requisite wisdom and political will. Sadly, both seem in short supply. The conflict in Balochistan therefore, is likely to drag on interminably and get bloodier, with the distinct possibility of taking an ethnic turn if these recent events discussed above are kept in mind. 

Gwadar: Present and future

Muhammad Saad Khattak
GWADAR Port located 700 km west of Karachi is inhabited by approximately 100,000 people. Balochistan was ruled by Mir Naseer Khan, from 1749 to 1794 and when Syed Sultan, the Waali of Muscat was defeated by his brother in 1783, he appealed to Mir Naseer khan for help and was temporarily bestowed with Gwadar for his maintenance and survival. Subsequently successive rulers of Balochistan either through negotiations or use of force tried to reclaim Gwadar from Muscat but could not succeed due to internal differences and evolving political Gwadar with the arrival of British colonising forces in the Sub Continent. It was later in 1958 during the period of late Prime Minister Malik Feroz Khan Noon that Gwadar was purchased back from Oman.

After an interval of almost a decade I happen to have visited Gwadar last week hence I thought to give an account of what I saw, more so in the backdrop of the hype created in the wake of Chinese One Belt One Road, an evolving global economic order of which China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a flagship with Gwadar as its Hub. During my visit to Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) and Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) where the management gave me an in-depth account of what is on ground and what is in pipeline both for the people of Balochistan and entire country.

As the situation on ground stands today, some of the important areas that we came across are; (1), there is a lot happening on papers and presentations with no matching pace on ground. (2), the people of Gwadar continue to receive water for daily consumption from Mirani Dam located at a distance of 180 kms costing 200 million a month to national exchequer. (3), the people of Gwadar continue to remain deprived of quality state educational institutions. (4), only hospital constructed by GDA is managed by Army because both the provincial and federal governments failed to provide the required staff to run and manage the hospital. (5), a great number of housing societies having collected billions from people have nothing to show on ground partly due to lack of infrastructural deficiencies and partly due to typical attitudes of developers fleecing common folks.
(6), a traditional boat making facility in existence since ages serving as main source of revenue for locals has no state sponsorship and support. (7), fishing is the traditional and sole bread earning enterprise of locals. They are relocated to Sur bander and Peshokan with no proper alternative arrangements for living having put in place. (8), new offices for the local administration have been built but shifting is not taking place due to inertia prevailing all around. (9), a state of the art international stadium has been made at a cost of Rs one billion with no utilization hence dilapidating and speaks volumes for priorities in planning and implementation. (10), with their focus on future utilizing of Gwadar only for trade and trans-shipment, Chinese are homing on the port with no visible contribution towards public and social sectors at Gwadar. (11), coinciding with the interests of regional competitors, the extra regional forces against the Chinese regional presence are doing everything to support local separatists thus negatively impacting the security climate around Gwadar.

What therefore needs to be done to overcome the challenges? (1), the importance of CPEC towards national economy warrants taking over of Gwadar by federal government, till its completion while keeping Balochistan government on board. A major decision in this regard will help in resolving and expediting most of the issues relating to public services on ground. (2), with the development of port at its critical juncture, the government and security establishment need to take full cognizance of the visible and invisible threat to the entire project and take effective measures. (3), while executing developmental projects at and around Gwadar, projects impacting the lives of local population in short and long term must receive priority impetus. The present pace is painfully slow hence quite alarming. (4), the real estate business, artificially manipulated by developers fleecing billions from public needs to be effectively harnessed by the state taking into account the genuine growth of Gwadar city in accordance with the government’s vision and estimation over years. Five, greater efforts need to go in pursuing Chinese to plan and undertake projects directly impacting the lives of common people of Gwadar. This will, besides improving their quality of life create the much desired good will for the Chinese among common people which is surely lacking right now.

While Gwadar promises greater hope and opportunities not only to Pakistan but the entire region, it needs to receive its due share in importance and development especially impacting common and local people. This is not visible right now. With domestic, regional and extra regional forces arrayed against the project for vested interests, the Governments of Pakistan and China need to take the challenges more seriously keeping infrastructural and public development within Balochistan central to the entire effort if there is a desire to successfully complete the project in the stipulated time with its promises for all stakeholders.

— The writer, a retired Maj Gen, is DG Pakistan Institute for Conflict & Security Studies, an independent think-tank based in Islamabad.