Locals are protesting as the CPEC project has not benefited the people of Balochistan while people of other provinces are enjoying the fruits of the megaproject.
Islamabad: Massive protests have rocked Balochistan's Gwadar, where enraged locals are demonstrating against China's multi-billion belt and road project.
Locals have accused the Imran Khan government of transferring the resources to China. The protestors have demanded basic governance even as authorities continue to divert resources to construct the port and overlook the locals' grievances.
According to a report in Singapore Post, these protests have again brought to fore the exploitative nature of Chinese investments in Pakistan.
Despite years of involvement in Pakistan, the report noted that China remains a subject of intense scrutiny and susceptible to Pakistan's internal conflicts. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been marred with controversy since announcing the USD 46 billion project in 2015.
Locals are opposing China's increasing involvement in Balochistan. They are protesting as the CPEC project has not benefited the people of Balochistan while people of other provinces are enjoying the fruits of the megaproject. This has led to widespread protests, and the Chinese are viewed as encroachers squeezing out all the wealth from the region.
Back in October, thousands of residents of Gwadar and Turbat had also gathered there to demonstrate against the non-availability of drinking water, health and education facilities and rising unemployment in Makran division, Dawn newspaper reported.
The CPEC project would link Pakistan's southern Gwadar port in Balochistan on the Arabian Sea to China's western Xinjiang region. It also includes plans to create road, rail and oil pipeline links to improve connectivity between China and the Middle East.
The ongoing protests in Gwadar validate the argument that the CPEC is not a panacea for Pakistan's economic growth and remains a half-baked idea.
The Singapore Post reported that any attempt to impose top-down development programmes without consideration for people's concerns could only put the project on the path of failure. Therefore, China and Pakistan will need to re-examine their investments and efforts into Gwadar, lest the project is doomed.