Karachi: After a series of allegations and worldwide protests by Pakistanis against the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC), Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has announced that the long-term plan (LTP) for CPEC will be made public on December 18.
The Pakistan government is accused of secretly benefiting China through CPEC.
Addressing a gathering for the CPEC Business Opportunities Conference here on Tuesday, the minister pitched in its favour saying it is a “game-changer” for Pakistan and also mentioned that its implementation is accelerating without any smugness, keeping the rapid pace of change in the world economy in mind.
“We cannot remain idle, if the world slows, we need to create new demand. There are around three billion people living in this region and 25 per cent GDP, which the CPEC will be in a position to connect,” he said.
Criticising the western countries, Iqbal said, “The Chinese are doing what the Americans and the Europeans should have done after the end of the Afghan war that evicted the Soviets from Afghanistan.”
“That war helped bring down the Berlin Wall, and made Europe safe. But we here in Pakistan are still paying the price for it,” he added.
The Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the CPEC had approved the Long-Term Plan (LTP 2017-30) without agreeing on development projects and special economic zones on November 21.
China came up with its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative in 2013.
The project comprises a network of railways, roads and pipelines that would connect Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar in the province of Balochistan, with the Chinese city of Kashgar in landlocked Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
The human rights activists have, time and again, spoken about and highlighted the growing atrocities of Pakistan on the indigenous people of Balochistan and deteriorating human rights situation as a result of the CPEC.
Earlier in November, a Pakistan media report raised concern over one of the provisions of the LTP 2017-30 – Beijing’s demand to allow its currency, the Yuan, to be used in the Gwadar Free Zone under the CPEC framework.
Quoting that “the CPEC plan raises far more questions than it answers,” Khurram Husain, a leading business and economy journalist in Pakistan, in an article titled ‘China’s Road Through Pakistan’ for the Dawn, propounds the idea of making the LTP public to prevent few pertinent questions from clouding the overall positive prospects that the CPEC has for Islamabad.
Last week, people of Gilgit-Baltistan have strengthened their voice against Pakistan’s immoral imposition of taxes on them.
Shutter down strikes and massive protests by traders and local residents are continuing in Gilgit as they accuse Pakistan for misusing power.
The lawyers say imposition of any tax in Gilgit Baltistan is illegal and immoral act as people here do not have any representation in national assembly and senate.
“Since the beginning, our motto remains that ‘no taxation without representation’. If we are not given any rights, why should we pay taxes? We should be given proper rights and we are ready to pay taxes as similar to other four provinces of Pakistan. But, we should be given equal rights. It is important to collect taxes to run any country, but it is only implacable if the people are given constitutional rights. We are not given any constitutional rights, so what taxes are they collecting from us?” said Mohammad Khan, an advocate in Gilgit.
Gilgit-Baltistan is part of princely state of Jammu and Kashmir which remains under Paksitani occupation for the past 70 years.
The locals made a demand of granting them royalty of rich mineral resources. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Gilgit Baltistan is also an illegal act by Pakistan and China.
The people of Gilgit Baltistan accuse both Pakistan and China for exploiting their resources and creating ecological imbalance in the region.
People of Gilgit-Baltistan have now become increasingly intolerant of the Pakistani occupation and they have intensified their ante against the authorities who have done nothing except plundering the resources. (ANI)