Balochistan parties threaten protests over 'exclusion' in Gwadar-Kashgar route

Published February 16, 2015
The rail link funded primarily by China would connect Xinjiang’s western city Kashgar to the Gwadar deep sea port of Pakistan. — File photo
The rail link funded primarily by China would connect Xinjiang’s western city Kashgar to the Gwadar deep sea port of Pakistan. — File photo

QUETTA: Political parties on Monday threatened to intensify their protests if the federal government failed to include Balochistan in the 2,000km long Gwadar-Kashgar route.

Political, religious and nationalists parties participated in the All Parties Conference (APC) organised by Jamiat ul Ulema-e-Islam (Ideological) with regard to the proposed route.

The speakers lashed out at Islamabad for what they called its “discriminatory approach” towards Balochistan regarding development projects.

“We will resist and protest if Balochistan is not included on the Gwadar-Kashgar route,” Maulana Asmatullah, the Central Amir of JUI (I) told the multiparty conference.

The APC through a resolution demanded of the federal government to review its decision of bypassing Balochistan in the long route aimed at connecting China with the Gwadar Deep Sea Port.

“Center must include Balochistan, otherwise we will agitate,” Asghar Achakzai, the Awmai National Party (ANP) Balochistan president said.

The 2,000km transport link was described as a “long-term plan” to connect Kashgar in northwestern China to the port of Gwadar, likely by road in the beginning and possibly by rail later.

The speakers demanded that the government should honor the rights and opinion of the people of Balochistan and make practical steps to remove their sense of deprivation.

They stated that the proposed mega-project would benefit the people of Balochistan in terms of jobs and trade activities.

“We will take up this issue with the prime minister,” Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani the leader of ruling PML-N assured the APC.

Pakistan is hoping to attract Chinese investment to overcome its fragile economy, whereas the Chinese consider Gwadar as an import economic corridor to ensure its trade with Gulf-States and rest of the world.

“Gwadar belongs to the people of Balochistan, they must be the major beneficiaries,” Maulana Asmatullah said.

ANP and JUI (N) have recently launched a protest movement against the proposed Gwadar-Kasghar route to mount pressure on Islamabad .

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