Experts and scholars across the world discussed the negative impacts of China’s One Belt One Road initiative in a conference in Berlin organized by the Baloch National Movement on August 11.
The title of the event was “China's One Belt One Road Initiative; Its adverse impacts on Balochistan and the region.”
The event was moderated by Laurie Deamer, a human rights activist from the United States.
BNM’s international representative Hammal Haider opened the event by welcoming the guests and speakers.
The conference consisted of three panels. In the first panel were German researcher and security observer Dr. Siegfried O. Wolf, American security expert Ehsan Munawar from Afghanistan, Indian writer and security analyst Alok Bansal and Japanese expert and analyst Shunichi Fujki.
The second panel were UNPO’s President Nasser Buledi, MQM’s Convener Nadeem Nusrat, author and researcher Dr. Naseer Dashti, General Secretary of the World Yughor Dolkun Isa, President of the World Sindhi Congress Lakku Lohana and Dr. Zafar Baloch of the BNM North America.
The third panel included Chairman Human Rights Council of Balochistan Taj Baloch, President BRP Germany Jawad Baloch and BSO-Azad Foreign Committee Organizer Niaz Baloch. Speakers discussed global change, Chinese economy, China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Chinese resettlement in different countries and its military intentions.
Hammal Haider said that the local population of Balochistan is being converted into minority due to colonization in the name of “CPEC”. Similarly, this project is for military purpose, which will cause a new war in the region by changing the balance of power.
Dr. Siegfried O. Wolf said that, the OBOR project is to connect Asia and Europe. The CPEC is a hidden and controversial project between Islamabad and China. The local people have been kept unaware and their will and interests ignored in this project, he added. The project also means to facilitate China’s military. The Chinese imports will be easily accessible by connecting OBOR to Europe. He said it can harm Germany’s economy.
Dr Zafar Baloch said that 11th August is an extraordinary day. The same day in 1947, the Baloch got freedom and were free for 227 days. But the Pakistani army attacked and occupied Balochistan and made a colony of it. Jinnah accepted Balochistan's independence, yet he carried out a military offensive to capture it. He said the CPEC was military expansionism. After the CPEC deal, Jihadis are being sponsored and backed by Pakistan army in Balochistan by to counter their struggle.
Ahsan Munawar said that, Afghanistan is the heart of Asia and owns several trillion dollars of resources, but the new democratic Afghanistan is facing an adverse situation due to the interference of its neighbors. He said Afghanistan had been in a state of war for the past four decades and a neighboring country was sheltering the terrorists fighting the Afghan government. When Russia attacked Afghanistan, Afghanistan won, but still struggling to get peace but the neighboring country is making it difficult. The same neighbor is nurturing ISIS against Balochistan and Afghanistan, he said.
Alok Bansal said that, the project will economically affect Europe more than others. He said the project affects Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir and there shouldn’t be any project in these areas without taking India into confidence. Alok Bansal said that when Attaullah was asked that Gwadar would be transformed into a Karachi, he had replied: “Those who are transforming Gwadar into a Karachi are willing to eliminate the Baloch nation." He said Baloch weren’t being given employment at the Gwadar port, the center of the CPEC.
Shunichi Fujki said that no one knew about Balochistan in Japan. He said they came to know about it because of the CPEC.
Nasser Buledi said that Pakistan and Iran were using Islam for political gains. He said India was investing in the Chah Bahar but Pakistan is using the Islamic card to make it fail. He added that Pakistan-backed Lashkar-e-Khurasan of the ISIS was active in Eastern and Western Balochistan.
Lakoo Lohana said that Baloch and Sindhi nation were in a critical situation. He said all human beings should be able to decide to live a free life on their soil in this age. According to him, Sindh generated 70 percent of Pakistan's resources and owned its only commercial port, yet 70 percent of Sindhis lived below the poverty line.
Nadeem Nusrat said religious proxies are being sponsored in Karachi and Balochistan. He said his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, was a secular party and its members were being hunted down by the paramilitary forces for the last four years. He said Jihadis were free in Pakistan to hold political rallies, collect funds and distribute hate literature. Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies were helping them openly, he added.
Dr Naseer Dashti said that CPEC was a matter of life and death for the Baloch and Sindhis. “If there is CPEC, there will be no Baloch,” he said, adding that thousands of outsiders were about to settle in Balochistan through these projects. Ninety percent of Gwadar’s land has been purchased by the army and people from Punjab. Two million people have already arrived and over three million others are about to come after the completion of the projects. He said the Baloch will perish in Balochistan after a few decades if settlements continued at this rate.
Dolkun Isa said that the first victim of the CPEC is Uyghur because it starts from this land. “China has kept us as slaves and put restrictions on our language, culture and religion.”
Talking about human rights violations in Balochistan, Taj Baloch said that his organization, the HRCB, had limited access to data of human rights abuses as 75 percent of Balochistan was out of reach from activists due to restrictions put by Pakistani security forces. He said all the villages on the CPEC route have been destroyed and military operations have forced locals to migrate to safer places. The Pakistani army abducts people and keeps them in dungeons for weeks, months and years where they are tortured and then killed and their bodies are handed over to the local hospital administration or local authorities claiming that they were terrorists and killed in combat. Taj said whoever opposed the CPEC project is picked up and killed.
Jawad Baloch said that the situation in Balochistan is worsening day by day. There are military operations in all parts of Balochistan. Scores of people have been abducted. Houses are being burnt. He said this genocide of the Baloch was taking place in the name of the CPEC. He added that Pakistan wanted to complete this project on the mutilated bodies and mass graves of the Baloch.
Niaz Baloch stated that the youth and students have always fought against injustices and oppression. He said the CPEC is an exploitative project and it was the worst form of modern colonization. All areas on the CPEC route are under heavy military operation, and people were being forced to migrate. Several areas have been handed over to death squads backed by the military. Balochistan has been transformed into a military camp.