By: Ali Jan Maqsood
Baloch, a local citizen of Gwadar, vociferates for the violence of his fundamental rights. He reasons China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) the ultimate reason of the deprivation of their meets with the basic components of life.
The project, CPEC, is said to be the biggest economic project of Pakistan with China, valued $46 billion in its initiation; albeit, the worth of CPEC was then increased with time. Pakistan expects to get infrastructural and economic prosperity with the help of CPEC but the state, despite investing her full efforts, seems failed to fulfill the basic needs of the local Baloch population.
Unavailability of clean drinking water has been a massive trouble for the residents. Water trucks are filled from Meerani Dam in Kech (120 kilometers away from Gwadar) and sold in Gwadar with high prices as; 17,000 to 20,000.
According to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, Balochistan is the poorest province in the country where the people are living below the poverty line. Balochistan is defined as living on less than $2 per day.
Despite hosting Pakistan’s biggest project, the province fails to seek affection from the state towards bringing improvement in the living standard. With several other unimportant projects running in the country with the soft loans of China through CPEC, there is no adopted project to bring changes in the lifestyle of the people of Balochistan.
Lahore Orange Line is a rapid transit system under construction in Punjab, Pakistan. It is deemed to be a project of approximately $1.6 billion. The project is under way with the help of CPEC whereas $300 million are financed by the Government of Pakistan and the rest through the soft loans of China for CPEC. It gestures that projects for the infrastructural development in the other provinces are given more priority than advancement and reforms in the human lives in Balochistan.
Although, poor connectivity has been an issue of decades in Balochistan, government sounds like they are unaware of it. People take days to travel from one place to another since the roads are thoroughly broken. Whereas it comes to railway network, most of the cities are deprived of railway tracks. Despite CPEC’s end node Gwadar, present in Southeast Balochistan, we fail to witness a single railway track in the region.
Creation of railway network in the Southeast Balochistan could easily be used as a tool to create employment opportunities for the local people. They needed not to journey afar for pleading to get jobs if there were permanent plans for the well-development of the province through CPEC in the factual sense. As the unemployment ratio of the province is on a great rise with almost 25,000 graduates each year in various varsities and colleges of the province.
On the other hand, the highway from Quetta to Karachi is till date, a single road track. It is said to be a very busy road where multiple accidents have occurred in last few months, but government does not seem interested in the issue.
Conclusively, Balochistan has been a province with least advancement in its infrastructural, connectivity, living standard and energy sects despite being the hub of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. People in the end node of CPEC (Gwadar) anguish for practically experiencing the ‘verbal promises’ through CPEC. Every response from the central and provincial governments with intentions to bringing reforms in the province would shape a new phase for CPEC and its long-term effects on Balochistan.
CPEC is deemed to support people like Baloch, and our representatives need to prove it with development in the province.
The writer is a student of Law at University Law College Quetta. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are of the author and Balochistan Review does not necessarily agree with them.