Refocus on Pur Aman Balochistan

CPEC makes necessary Balochistan be peaceful

When during Pervez Musharraf’s regime in March 2002, Pakistan initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in Balochistan province with Chinese assistance, sirens went off in the capitals of some European countries, as well as those of the USA, India and Israel, which took it as a threat to their global and regional plans.

Afterwards, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has been rapidly developing. CPEC will prove to be a gateway to prosperity for both countries as well as the region. Under the project, China is investing as much as $62 billion in various sectors in Pakistan in a phased manner.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on August 5, 2020 approved the project for the upgradation of he 1872 km of the existing railway Mainline-1 (ML-1) from Peshawar to Karachi.

Besides energy projects, CPEC will open new doors of development relating to various fields, as the national economy of the country will grow fast, leading to creation of new job opportunities, poverty reduction, and development of the transportation sector, as well as boost agricultural and industrial growth, including exports.

Notably, India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s OBOR or BRI; and the USA has also joined New Delhi.

In May, 2020, the outgoing US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells, who tried to spoil China-Pakistan relations, had once again criticized BRI and CPEC by saying that the USA was concerned about CPEC projects due to the unfair rates of profits which are guaranteed to Chinese firms. The Chinese Embassy called her statement totally baseless by stating: “We take Pakistan as an equal partner and never asked Pakistan to do more.”

Taking cognizance of foreign entities’ hostile propaganda, Islamabad and Beijing have, repeatedly, dismissed the criticism as Western propaganda and the latter also insisted that the CPEC will equally benefit Pakistan.

In fact, the Gwadar seaport project, which is the backbone of the CPEC, will uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan, including developments in other backward areas by redressing their grievances, which the hostile elements, supported by the USA, India and Israel do not want.

PM Nawaz Sharif had stated that Balochistan would be a major beneficiary of CPEC and the project would open new avenues of development and prosperity for Pakistan. He elaborated “Gwadar’s deep-sea port would link the landlocked Central Asian states with the rest of the world— and will attract massive amounts of local and foreign investment.”

The ink on Pak-China agreements related to the CPEC was barely dry when especially the USA’s CIA, Indian secret agency RAW and Israel’s Mossad had accelerated playing up the Baloch insurgency. Malicious propaganda against the CPEC coincided with the terror attacks in various regions of Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan.

However, Pakistan’s armed forces and primary intelligence agency ISI have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists. Peace has been restored in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, and in Karachi as well as in other vulnerable regions.

But, in the recent past, terrorist attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and particularly Balochistan which is a central point of the CPEC, show that the CIA-led RAW and Mossad are destabilizing Pakistan and want to damage the CPEC project which is part of China’s OBOR or BRI.

RAW is also using some terrorist outfits such as ISIS and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)-linked Majeed Brigade which claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist assaults on workers and labourers, working on the CPEC projects in Balochistan. These terror entities also abducted and killed many Chinese nationals. RAW as well as some foreign secret agencies have been arranging the subversive activities in Balochistan, promoting acrimonious sense of dissent, sectarian violence and arousing sentiments of separatism.

It is mentionable that the Taliban fighters on 15 August 2021 entered the Afghan capital Kabul and seized power, taking control of Afghanistan. The Taliban-led government clarified that Afghan soil would not be used for any terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for terror attacks against neighbouring countries, including Pakistan. But, regarding some recent terror attacks which also include Balochistan, sources suggested that some militants of the TTP, which is based in Afghanistan, have entered Pakistan from Afghanistan. Hence, the military leadership has warned Kabul to check this infiltration.

It is noteworthy that in November, 2020 at a joint press conference, DG ISPR Maj Gen (now |Lt Gen) Babar Iftikhar and then Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi unveiled a dossier containing “irrefutable evidence” of India’s sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan, also targeting the CPEC.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram had handed over the dossier to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

In its 27th report, dated 3 February 2021 and 28th report, recently published, the UN Security Council’s monitoring team for tracking terrorist groups confirmed Pakistan’s dossier, and drew attention to the increasing cross-border terrorist threat to Pakistan.

Regarding various terror assaults, the then Foreign Minister Qureshi had remarked that if the international community had taken timely notice of Islamabad’s concerns over New Delhi’s involvement in terrorist activities across Pakistan, Lahore’s Johar Town blast and several terrorist incidents in Balochistan would not have taken place.

Under Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s command the fencing along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which also entails Pak-Afghan border of Balochistan started in June 2017 by the Army to improve the security situation and the near-completion of the project in 2021, is praiseworthy.

The Pakistan Army also contributed a lot to the socio-economic development of Balochistan besides giving military training to the youth, while protecting mega-projects and the CPEC staff.

It is notable that presiding over an apex committee meeting in Quetta, the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the plan Pur Aman (Peaceful) Balochistan on 6 August 2015—for the return of the angry Baloch to the national mainstream.

In this respect, the apex committee meeting reviewed the overall security situation in the insurgency-hit province and progress on the National Action Plan.The then Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch Minister for States, Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai and BalochistanChief Minister  Dr Abdul Malik Baloch were among those attending the meeting.

Earlier that day, Prime Minister Sharif also performed the ground-breaking of three important development projects, namely Mangi Dam, Balochistan Agriculture University and Flyover on Samungli Road, Quetta. The PM also inaugurated Sariab Road Flyover in Quetta, which has been completed at a cost of Rs 1581 million.

PM Nawaz Sharif had stated that Balochistan would be a major beneficiary of CPEC and the project would open new avenues of development and prosperity for Pakistan. He elaborated “Gwadar’s deep-sea port would link the landlocked Central Asian states with the rest of the world— and will attract massive amounts of local and foreign investment.”

The PM further stated: “We will provide fool proof security to CPEC projects and we will ensure that maximum benefits reach the common people.”

Sajjad Shaukat
Sajjad Shaukat
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations and can be reached at [email protected]


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