By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | Oct 04, 2018, 07.20 AM IST
The decision to teach Chinese language comes at a time when Chinese influence in the region is increasing.
NEW DELHI: Schoolchildren in Balochistan’s port city of Gwadar will now be taught Chinese language till class VI, a decision that signals further Sinification of Pakistan in the years ahead.
Close on the heels of the decision to create a gated Chinese township in Gwadar, the entry point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Balochistan’s newly elected chief minister, Jam Kamal, has ordered authorities to immediately start teaching Chinese language to schoolchildren in Gwadar, ET has learnt.
Chinese language could even be made a compulsory subject in schools in Gwadar infuture, according to people aware of the matter. This is the case even as Balochi language, the mother tongue of most of the students in Balochistan, is not taught in local schools.
Kamal, who heads Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), is considered close to the current Pakistani establishment.
The decision to teach Chinese language comes at a time when Chinese influence in the region is increasing. Baloch political groups allege that Chinese influx, due to construction of infrastructure projects under the Chinese funded multi-billion dollar CPEC, would result in a demographic shift and turn Balochs into a minority in their own land.
The CPEC, a major part of wh i ch passes through Balochistan, is facing stiff resistance from Baloch armed groups. In August, a suicide attacker targeted a bus carrying Chinese engineers in Dalbandeen killing three Chinese nationals. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which said it would carry out more such attacks.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has been blaming India for fomenting trouble in Balochistan where Gwadar is located and even held Kulbhushan Jadhav as a party to Delhi’s designs in Pakistan’s biggest province. All these charges have been found to be baseless, sources said.
ET was the first to report that China was building a city for 5,00,000 Chinese nationals at a cost of $150 million in Gwadar as part of the CPEC. China-Pak Investment Corporation bought the 3.6 million square foot International Port City for the purpose. By 2022, the proposedcityisenvisagedtohousehalfmillion Chinese citizens, comprising the workforce for the proposed financial district.
It would be the first such Chinese city in South Asia, although China has such complexes or subcities for its nationals who are part of the workforce for projects in Africa and Central Asia.