As you read this, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan would be relaxing at home after leading the ground-breaking ceremony of the $2.4-billion, 1,124-MW Kohala Hydropower Project being built on the Jhelum River in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). A tripartite agreement signing ceremony between a Chinese company and the governments of Pakistan and PoK was held yesterday for the hydropower project being built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (Cpec) framework.
It is the biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) project in Pakistan — and the biggest blunder.
India has time and again exposed the nefarious designs of Cpec, Kohala project and also the Diamer-Bhasha dam being constructed in Gilgit-Baltistan.
"Our position is consistent and clear that the entire territory of the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are, and will continue to be an integral and inalienable part of India. We have consistently conveyed our protest and shared concerns with both China and Pakistan on all such projects in the Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation," External Affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said last month stressing once again that Gilgit-Baltistan is part of India illegally occupied by Pakistan.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping marches forward to realize his expansionist dreams by building a modern silk road and move deep into the Pakistan territory all the way till Gwadar port, the Imran Khan government goes into a misinformation overdrive.
It is trying to convince the citizens — from PoK to Balochistan — that such projects will promote regional development and uplift the socio-economic status of people in PoK by creating more jobs.<img class="wp-image-3926 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/a9eb285dfc86d2967bc400cb8e1b0f01.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="574" /> Imran Khan at the agreement signing ceremony of the Kohala Hydropower Project (IANS)
At a webinar on 'Security and Development in Balochistan: Existing Dynamics and Way Ahead' organized yesterday by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), some experts suggested that Cpec will bring peace, prosperity and development in Balochistan by empowering the Baloch people through development projects and governance reforms.
"Cpec has the potential to be the game-changer for Balochistan," said one speaker during the event which was much of a PR exercise trying to promote the Cpec.
Balochs, however, would rather believe Mehran Marri, their representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), who has repeatedly dubbed Cpec "as a military project by Beijing which it would later use against the United States and gulf nations" and also to exploit resources in the largely unexplored mineral rich province.
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">Activist @ArifAjakia interviews exiled <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Baloch?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Baloch</a> leader <a href="https://twitter.com/MehranMarri?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MehranMarri</a> about the history of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Balochistan?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Balochistan</a> and its occupation by Pakistan in 1948 and now its plunder by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/China?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#China</a>. <a href="https://t.co/FBh8tcvwI5">https://t.co/FBh8tcvwI5</a></p>
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) <a href="https://twitter.com/TarekFatah/status/1274372905242066944?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 20, 2020</a></blockquote>
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Well, not just the Balochs, even <em>The Jerusalem Post</em> last week termed Cpec as a "trillion dollar blunder."
"Ultimately, this is a Chinese ‘colonial’ adventure that will never bear fruit. There have been many reports out of China that indicate the Pakistani government itself is trying to sabotage the Cpec project. Chinese officials have been recorded as being incredibly frustrated with Islamabad’s actions or lack thereof so far. Like most adventures, there is no opacity. China sets the price, Pakistan gets the bill and ends up with substandard infrastructure it cannot service. It will be known as the ‘trillion dollar blunder.’ It seems the Cpec colonial adventure has failed before it has even begun. In a way, Chinese strategy for land encroachment and Pakistan’s gluttonous desire for land-grabbing may end up being their own downfall," <a href="https://www.jpost.com/opinion/beijings-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-leads-to-nowhere-632184">said the newspaper</a>.
Up north, in the occupied Kashmir, activists have already held protests how Cpec projects have ruined their life after springs which provided water to the locals have dried due to the diversion of rivers and relentless construction of dams.
"It should be reminded that rising controversy on the Kohala hydropower project in view of its purported environmental implications could have far reaching political and economic implications in the days ahead," Pakistan's <em>The News International</em> had reported last year.
No lessons have been learned though by the deep state which is kneeling down before China like never before..