GENEVA, March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
On March 13, Balochistan House hosted a conference titled 'Impact of CPEC on Balochistan' on the sidelines of the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Those who spoke included Ryszard Czarnecki, Vice President, European Parliament, Siegfried Wolf, Senior Consultant, South Asia Democratic Forum, Mehran Baluch, Baloch Representative to EU and UN and Tarek Fatah, Executive Director, Balochistan House.
Ryszard Czarnecki, while speaking at the event, referred to the CPEC as a Chinese initiative that was expected to provide China with both strategic depth and economic benefits. He stated that though the Pakistani government was projecting the CPEC as an initiative that would improve the economic condition of ordinary Pakistanis, in reality it was more likely to be used as a reason to implement tighter security controls on any opposition by the indigenous population with regard to the CPEC as well as thwart the human rights of people in Balochinstan and other parts of Pakistan. He concluded that for any project to succeed there was first a need to end the large scale human rights violation in Balochistan and elsewhere in Pakistan and provide the people with basic necessities like water, health care etc.
In his presentation, Siegfried Wolf largely focused on the situation in Balochistan. Informing the audience that Balochistan was the largest but least populated region in Pakistan, he also highlighted that despite being rich in natural resource, it was the poorest region of the country with an acute lack of education and health infrastructure. Apart from these problems, he added that the locals were being subject to human rights abuses including threat to life, in the form of ethnic discrimination and religious extremism. Siegfried Wolf was of the opinion that the Pakistani government was not interested in ameliorating the living conditions of the Baloch or effectively tackling the issues related to rights violations, because it was more keen to have a continued access to the natural resources of Balochistan, that could only be possible by repressing the rights of the people and controlling the region through the might of the Army.
Baloch representative to the EU and the UN, Mehran Baluch called the CPEC a 'mega disaster' for the people of Pakistan. He opined that the Pakistani establishment was looking at using the implementation of the CPEC project as a pretext to oppress the people and suppress their rights. He expressed concern that it would also result in the ethnic cleansing of the Baloch people, who were seen to be standing in the way of the completion of the CPEC. He appealed to the UN and the European Union to also recognise the threat from the project to the western world.
All the speakers agreed that it was essential for the international community to take note of human rights violations that were occurring as a result of the construction of the CPEC against the wishes of the local population.
SOURCE Balochistan House