The multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a geo-strategic asset for China to strengthen its own military prowess and Pakistan will collude with the Chinese to kill every Baloch to make Balochistan and its resources safe for Chinese exploitation, according to American scholar C. Christine Fair.
Speaking at a side event titled Economic development and HR repercussions: CPEC why Balochistan bleeds? during the 40th Session of UN Human Rights Council, Fair categorically questioned the repercussions of the CPEC project in Pakistan which has witnessed a rise in human rights violations after its launch.
The China-Pakistan economic corridor has China investing over USD 60 billion. The corridor reaches out from Xinjiang to Gwadar port in Pakistan's Balochistan province.
Pakistan is going to go greatly in debt for projects that are largely going to benefit the elite. We have no idea what the actual cost of CPEC is? These are projects that are not put for competitive bids, basically the Chinese decide the price and Pakistanis take up the loan, Fair told ANI.
Since the launch of CPEC projects, the number of enforced disappearances, torture and killings have raised manifold in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan. The security agencies have been given a free hand to eliminate voice rising against this project.
Fair said, The Pakistanis will collude with the Chinese to kill every Baloch to make Balochistan and its resources safe for Chinese exploitation and thats absolutely true.
While giving an example of Chinese exploitation in other countries, she added, What China has done in Malaysia and Sri Lanka is that they rolled up the cost of bribes to get various projects going. This was a very clever way of moving money from private coffers to private pockets. Take a look (at) what happened in Sri Lanka, basically they had to hand over sovereign territory and Hambantota Port, to the Chinese.
China is spending over USD 64 billion to build this corridor from Xinjiang to Gwadar in Pakistans Balochistan province.
Fair elaborated, Its not an economic corridor. For economic corridor to be truly economic, it has to be economically viable. And there is nothing viable about this economic corridor. It costs about six times as much to move crude from Gwadar up into Xinjiang. Then it does to the same barrel of crude to the ground line of communication. And, moreover, Karachi port itself is not at capacity, there is still unused capacity in Karachi."
And if you look at the map, you bring stuff into Gwadar which has to move to Karachi and then it has to go to North. So, why not simply move things to Karachi. It does not make any sense economically. So scholars like me, we think this is geo-strategic. This is about the Chinese being able to get a military hold at Gwadar, she added.
Fair also believes that China has blocked Indias bid to declare JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist with a goal of propping up Pakistan to indulge in conflict with India.
She said, This is the fourth time China has done that and I think many people were hopeful that Pulwama and the response in Balakot would have been enough to provoke China as it did on proscribing Hafiz Saeed after the November 2008 attacks. The Pulwama attack and the Mumbai attack, they are not comparable anyway. So, I never had the expectation that China was going to do anything other than this.
For the simple reason, China has a goal of propping up Pakistan to indulge in conflict with India, Fair added.
Fair further stated, But, it doesnt want Pakistan to go to war with India because whenever India and Pakistan gone forward, China has never actually helped Pakistan. So, it exposes the limits about Chinese assistance is going to do. So, the ways in which the Chinese have propped up Pakistan is by supporting it conventionally, helping its nuclear programme and also facilitating an environment which is conducive to continue using these terrorist assets. From Chinas point of view, there is no blowback, there are no consequences because LeT as well as JeM as very well behaved proxies of the Pakistani state. (ANI)