February 27, 2024

Backlash grows against China’s Belt & Road projects in Pakistan

The growing backlash against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan is driving a wedge between the all-weather allies. In the second such attack this month, a suicide bomber on Friday targeted a convoy of Chinese nationals in Balochistan. Two local kids were killed and a Chinese national was injured in the incident.Balochistan Liberation Army, a separatist militant organisation, claimed responsibility for the attack. The Chinese embassy strongly condemned Friday’s suicide attack in Gwadar, the port city of strategic importance due to the presence of Chinese workers and investment. The embassy said that it launched the emergency plan immediately, “demanding Pakistan to properly treat the wounded, conduct a thorough investigation on the attack, and severely punish the perpetrators.”Protests against CPECThe attack comes amid growing anger against the billion-dollar projects among locals in the restive province. This week, protesters blocked roads, burned tyres, chanted slogans against a severe shortage of water and electricity and threats to livelihoods in Gwadar, the Guardian reported.Gwadar, a coastal town in Balochistan, is the culmination point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China is involved in the development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea as part of a $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is itself part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.“We have been protesting and rallying against the Chinese trawlers, and shortage of water and electricity for over a month now. But the government never paid heed to our demands. We had to observe a complete shutdown strike and we were attacked by the district administration,” said Faiz Nigori, a local political worker. Two people were injured when the authorities cracked down on the protesters in Gwadar, the report said.Chinese nationals under threatA large number of Chinese experts and workers are employed in Gwadar and the surrounding areas to complete various projects under the CPEC. In the last few months, there has been an increase in terror attacks targeting Chinese nationals in Balochistan and Karachi who are working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and for private enterprises.Following Friday’s attack, the Chinese embassy said the security situation in Pakistan has been severe and there have been several terrorist attacks in succession, resulting in the casualties of several Chinese citizens. It asked its citizens in Pakistan to be vigilant, strengthen safety precautions, reduce unnecessary outings, and take effective security protections.Pakistan, on its part, said that the bomber targeted the convoy of Chinese nationals comprising four Chinese vehicles with integral security details of Pakistan Army and police contingent on East Bay Expressway near Fishermen Colony in Gwadar.Pakistan said cognizant of hostile designs, it already undertook a comprehensive review of security of the Chinese and was committed to ensuring their safe stay in Pakistan in this journey of progress. Last month, at least 13 people, including nine Chinese, were killed in a terrorist attack in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.The bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the site of the under-construction Dasu Dam exploded on July 14 It fell into a deep ravine after the explosion in the Upper Kohistan district. Pakistan had initially said the accident was caused due to technical problems and later an explosion occurred due to gas leakage. Later, it retracted from its earlier stand and acknowledged it was a terrorist attack.Chinese nationals also came under attack in Karachi last month when they were fired upon by gunmen from a moving vehicle. For Pakistan, ties with China are crucial due to its increasing economic dependence on Beijing.



  • Pazdin Dalal

    A marketing expert from Mumbai takes interest in covering defence and geopolitical issues. He has also been active in covering growth of private defence sector in India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *