China in direct contact with Baloch separatists – Financial Times

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The Balochistan Post Report

In a report published on Monday, renowned newspaper Financial Times has claimed that China has been in contact with “Pakistani tribal separatists” for more than five years. These talks have been held in an effort to protect the multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects which are parts of China-Pakistani Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Financial Times has used the word “tribal separatists” in its report, however, majority of Baloch fighters belong to areas where tribal system has either been non-existent or has depleted over the years.

Three people who have knowledge of these talks between China and Baloch separatists have told Financial Times that Beijing has been in direct contact with separatists in Balochistan, where many of CPEC’s most important projects are located.

A Pakistani official has also confirmed to Financial Times that China has made a lot of progress in these talks. The Pakistani official has claimed that though Baloch seperatists carry out small attacks against CPEC, they have mostly refrained from making a forceful push.

As per the FT report, CPEC has pitched Beijing into world’s most complex conflict zones. Pakistan is one of the riskiest parts of the world for investment. At least 10 workers were killed near Gwadar in May 2017.

Responsibility for this attack was claimed by Baloch Liberation Army.

FT claims that Pakistani officials have also welcomed the talks between Baloch rebels and Beijing. Though these officials do not know about the details of these talks but they consider resulting peace out of these talks beneficial for both China and Pakistan.

However, the report does not mention the names of Baloch leaders who have been in talks with China.

In a recent exclusive interview with The Balochistan Post (TBP), a famous Baloch leader and senior commander of Baloch Liberation Army, Aslam Baloch, had said CPEC is not only a threat to the region’s peace but also to the very existence of Baloch nation. “In order to counter this threat, joint-struggle and alliance between different Baloch resistance forces is need of the time. Baloch forces are devising a plan and there is strong consensus between Baloch Liberation Army and Baloch Liberation Front in this regard,” he had told TBP.

Another Baloch leader and Chairman of Baloch National Movement, Khaleel Baloch, in an exclusive interview had told TBP, that Baloch will never let CPEC to succeed. China has so far failed to invest openly in these projects. “CPEC project is not an economic project. It will be used for China’s military dominance in the region. China is building a naval base here to prove its military supremacy against India and the world powers. However, this project will not succeed without Baloch nation’s consent. Baloch nation will resist hardly against CPEC as it is a matter of life-and-death for us,” he had told TBP in the interview.

Similar views were expressed by a senior Baloch Republican Army commander, Gulzar Imam Baloch. In an exclusive interview with TBP he had said: “Baloch are continuously resisting against CPEC. With death and destruction, China and Pakistan might be able to complete this project but they will not be able to guarantee peace for it without Baloch nation’s consent.”

Commander Gulzar Imam had said in his interview that Baloch nation is fighting a successful war against both China and Pakistan simultaneously, due to which foreign investors are avoiding investment in these projects. However, he had agreed that Baloch forces need to consolidate their resources if they want to fully halt CPEC project.

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