News Analysis |
The Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, while giving an exclusive interview to BBC Urdu on 2nd February, claimed that the Baloch militant movement is no longer a threat to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Ambassador said that the law and order situation in Balochistan has improved a great deal from the past and the Gwadar port is very close to becoming an international trade hub.
Jing also declared that the Baloch militants are “not true Pakistanis” because if they were true Pakistanis, they’d work for Pakistan’s interests. “If they [Baloch militants] are true Pakistanis, they should work in the interest of Pakistan,” He expressed his confidence in the armed forces of Pakistan and the security provided to the 10,000 Chinese and 60,000 Pakistani working in different parts of the CPEC project.
In December 2017, 300 Baloch militants surrendered their arms in Balochistan and became a part of the mainstream. In January 2018, another 200 militants laid down their arms and joined the mainstream.
The ambassador also expressed his desire for better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and told BBC Urdu that China has been constantly urging the Afghan Taliban to sit on the dialogue table. On Friday, China and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) also signed a $4 million agreement to support areas affected by natural and human made crises in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.
According to the agreement, the projects which will be funded by the “China South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund” will help 8,100 internally displaced families in FATA and construct schools for 19,000 children in Balochistan who were affected by 2010-11 floods.
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During the signing ceremony, Chinese ambassador Yao Jing said that the successful launching of the project renews China’s commitment towards the development of Pakistan. China is providing $1 billion to improve people’s wellbeing and help meet the ‘Belt and Road’ countries meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The assistance program for FATA and Balochistan will help meet SDG1 (no poverty), SDG4 (quality education) and SDG6 (clean water).
Maintaining stability in Baluchistan is one of the top priorities of both the Pakistani and Chinese government. The government has actively been working with Baluch leaders to reduce frictions.
CPEC is China’s flagship investment in the ‘One Belt One Road Initiative’. It is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by China; that is creating linkages between countries throughout the region as far as Russia and even Europe. CPEC is a foreign direct investment worth almost $62 billion which is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistan’s infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks and special economic zones.
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China Helping Pakistan to Mainstream Troublesome Areas
Strategic experts believe that the success of BRI is linked to the success of CPEC and the Chinese investment in welfare projects in Pakistan are an attempt to stabilize Pakistan because stability in Pakistan is a necessity for the completion and success of CPEC. Pakistan’s strained relations with Afghanistan and the presence of militants along the border have made it imperative for Pakistan to mainstream FATA as soon as possible.
The projects which will be funded by the “China South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund” will help 8,100 internally displaced families in FATA and construct schools for 19,000 children in Balochistan who were affected by 2010-11 floods.
Experts opine that Chinese investment in FATA is an acknowledgement of that need and China wants to offer its full support to Pakistan for the mainstreaming of FATA. The insurgency in Balochistan is one of the biggest threats faced by the CPEC project and foreign and local media sources have reported the presence of foreign insurgents in Balochistan. The capture of Kulbushan Jadhav is one of the biggest examples of the foreign presence.
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International relations analysts speculate that the regional and global powers are threatened by China’s gradual ascension to becoming the superpower of the world, and they are investing all their resources to contain China. The insurgency in Balochistan and the foreign funding of separatist groups are attempts to contain China and create instability in Pakistan according to strategic experts.
Maintaining stability in Baluchistan is one of the top priorities of both the Pakistani and Chinese government. The government has actively been working with Baluch leaders to reduce frictions. In December 2017, 300 Baloch militants surrendered their arms in Balochistan and became a part of the mainstream. In January 2018, another 200 militants laid down their arms and joined the mainstream.