Protests rage in Gwadar amid China’s belt and road plan


Amid growing dissent over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan, protests have erupted over Gwadar, a coastal town in Balochistan, which is the culmination point of the corridor.

China is pursuing the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea as part of a $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is itself part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.

This week, protestors blocked roads, burned tyres, chanted slogans against a severe shortage of water and electricity and threats to livelihoods in Gwadar.

“We have been protesting and rallying against the Chinese trawlers, and shortage of water and electricity for over a month now. But the government never paid heed to our demands. We had to observe a complete shutdown strike and we were attacked by the district administration,” said Faiz Nigori, a local political worker.

The report said that two people were injured when the authorities cracked down on the protesters in Gwadar.

A large number of Chinese experts and workers are employed in Gwadar and the surrounding areas to complete various projects under the CPEC.

The past months have seen an increase in terror attacks targeting Chinese nationals in Balochistan and Karachi who are involved in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and for private enterprises.
As reported by the police, a suicide bombing targeting a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals in Gwadar killed two children and left three injured on Friday.

Balochistan Liberation Army, a separatist militant organisation, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Just last month, at least 13 people, including nine Chinese, were killed in a terrorist attack in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the site of the under-construction Dasu Dam exploded on July 14, following which the bus fell into a deep ravine after the explosion in the Upper Kohistan district.

Although Pakistan had initially said that the accident was caused due to technical problems, later it acknowledged that it was a terrorist attack.

Chinese nationals also came under attack in Karachi last month when they were fired upon by gunmen from a moving vehicle.

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