China to speed up cooperation with Pakistan on CPEC projects

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China is ready to expand its practical cooperation with Pakistan on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects; Chaines Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Mao Ning, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a briefing that during Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to China, the Chinese government agreed to work rapidly with Pakistan on four new corridors; green, information technology, industrial development, and health sectors.

The spokesperson said that China has donated solar panels to Balochistan province, while apart from the Gwadar Green Project, both countries have cooperated effectively against COVID-19. “CPEC is an important project of cooperation between Pakistan and China, which has played an important role in Pakistan’s social economic development and connectivity to the region,” Ning said.

On the other hand, CPEC has been termed as an exploitative project by Baloch nationalists. A series of intensive and deadly attacks have been conducted against CPEC projects, installations, and workers by Baloch armed groups. Baloch political parties have also carried out numerous demonstrations and held protests on various forums in Balochistan and abroad against what they call the “exploitation of their resources.”

According to regional analysts, the negligence of the locals’ outcry against “discrimination and exploitation by CPEC, Saindak and other projects, suicide attacks on Chinese nationals and other officials in Balochistan have increased since 2018. 

It’s to be recalled that In August 2018, a Bus of Chinese engineers in the Dalbandin district of Balochistan, the Chinese Consulate in Karachi on November 23 of the same year, and the PC hotel in Gwadar on May 11, 2019, were targeted by BLA suicide attackers.

The BLA claimed responsibility for all the attacks. The spokesman for the organization, Jeeyand Baloch clarified in the statements that attacks were carried out by members of the BLA’s suicide Squad Majeed Brigade. In addition, Baloch armed freedom fighters operating in Balochistan, including the BLA, have also been indicated to target foreign investors in Balochistan at different times.

In August 2018, the bus of Chinese engineers in the Dalbandin district of Balochistan, the Chinese Consulate in Karachi on November 23 of the same year, and the PC hotel in Gwadar on May 11, 2019, were targeted by Baloch suicide bombers. Over the years, the Pakistan Stock Exchange and Chinese residents have been targeted by suicide bombers in Karachi as well.

Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for all the aforementioned attacks. The spokesman of the group, Jeeyand Baloch has warned China several times to “halt its projects in Balochistan and stop supporting Pakistan in the oppression of Balochistan.” According to BLA and other Baloch insurgent groups, Pakistan has illegally occupied Balochistan and is looting its natural resources.

SourceTBP

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