Member of European Parliament Concerned About Baluch Land Acquisition

Nov 13, 2015, 05:31 ET from Office of MEP Fulvio Martusciello

BRUSSELS, November 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

Mr. Fulvio Martusciello, Member of the European Parliament has written a letter to the President of the European Parliament about the forcible acquisition of land of the ethnic Baloch people for the completion of the Gwadar Port project.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Sir,

Pakistan has reportedly provided 2,281 acres of land in Gwadar to China on a 40-year lease to build a "Free Trade Zone" in Gwadar, where a naval base will also be built as part of China's strategy of building a "String of Pearls" on the rim of the Indian Ocean. As much as 654 acres have already been allotted for the Chinese naval base.

Pakistan and China say that developing the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar, in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, will promote trade throughout Central Asia. However, the construction of the port comes with a heavy cost to the native Baloch people residing in their region. Their land has been forcibly encroached upon or in some cases even snatched away without adequate compensation. The Gwadar Development Authority has been given unlimited powers to take away farm land. Its actions have no accountability. In a rather sorry state of affairs, the dissenting voices of the Balochis are silenced with the help of the Pakistani Army. Forcible land acquisition has also led to migration of many Baloch families, but news on this subject is effectively censored by the Pakistani authorities.

It is also a fact that the legal and constitutional status of Gwadar, which originally belonged to Muscat and Oman, but was forcibly annexed by Pakistan, is disputed.

It is thus an appeal to the European Parliament to pressurize the Pakistani government to honor the rights and opinions of the people of Balochistan and take practical steps to remove their sense of deprivation arising out of the construction of the Gwadar Port.

SOURCE Office of MEP Fulvio Martusciello