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Mining or Digging Baloch Graveyard
  • Mining or Digging Baloch Graveyard
    Mining or Digging Baloch Graveyard
A news, recently, about Chinese companies starting mining in Balochistan is a disturbing one! This comes on the heels of an arbitration tribunal of the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruling against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in relation to the unlawful denial of a mining lease for the Reko Diq project in 2011, Chilean mining company “Antofagasta PLC” announcement. The government of Balochistan had very rightly, in 2011, refused to grant a mining license to TCC for the Reko Diq gold-cum-copper project. The provincial government at that time had announced a decision to install its own refinery for the processing of gold and copper and allocated substantial funds for it.
But, now as per the latest reports, Pakistan wants Chinese companies to kick-start a boom in its mining industry by including the sector into Beijing's `Belt and Road` initiative. The decision, if already taken, is a contentious one. The decision makers are forgetting the crisis-like situation in Gwadar, where a port is being built by the Chinese. Supposedly, this port will transform Gwadar into a hub like Singapore, which is a mirage. Just dreams being sold to the locals. The water-crisis in Gwadar has forced the locals to take to streets against such inhuman behaviour by the Pakistan Govt. and the Chinese. Not just this, but also that no locals have being employed for the project have added to the grunt. All the resources being taken away by the Chinese and no benefits to the locals there.
There is also a concern that the Chinese will provide loans at hefty rates for such projects, which in due course of time will turn into such humongous figures, engulfing the whole of Balochistan. The footprints of such an activity by China are very much visible in other countries. For example, Cambodia is trapped in Chinese debt to the extent that their foreign policy is dictated by China while Cambodia’s own will have no option. Another, country is Sri Lanka, where after more than a decade of taking out huge loans to build large-scale infrastructure from China, the country is now struggling to make payments the locals are protesting against such so-called development undertaken by Chinese firms but the damage has already been done. The country is in a debt ridden turmoil.
People might argue against it saying that Balochs are against anything done by the Pakistan Govt. But in the instant case, its not just the Pakistani Govt. but also their Chinese counterpart, which go hand in hand. The cost of these development projects will be borne by the locals out of their pocket. And if not paid then these mines and industries will be taken over by Chinese firms in the name of loan repayment from the Balochis. The repayment of such loans will have to be done by Balochistan and once these surmounts to huge figures then they will be left with no option but to give into Chinese and Pakistani demands. In all this, the Pakistan Govt. on their part are just looking to gain some short term goals but not long terms. Pakistan, along with China, are only interested in the huge natural reserves of Balochistan and not its progress. Through these projects, even Pakistan wants their hands on the resources and a part of the profit. But, none to Balochistan.
A common Balochi, would prefer no activities to be undertaken by the infamous partnership of Pakistan-China, both of whom have a dubious past track. Definitely progress of the region is a priority but not at the cost of being ‘slave’ to foreigners. None of the projects like CPEC have done nothing to erode the poverty and other problems of Balochistan. We do not want another project in the name of development but only want the basic needs to be full-filled first and foremost.