Balochs say Pakistan handing over vast tracts of land to China

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 29, 2013 10:00 hrs

Baloch leaders are claiming that Pakistan is handing over vast tracts of land to its military and political ally China, and add that there is a growing sense of outrage over Beijing increasing its footprint in the troubled province.

A majority of Baloch say that Pakistan does not have the right to carry out such such transactions with a foreign country or power.

"China is right now focusing on its economy and wherever the economists find their interest they enter that place. Chinese relations with Pakistan are very good and they have come here with their help only," claims Brahamdagh Bugti, Chairman of the Baloch Republican Party.

The recent handing over of the Gwadar port to the Chinese has particularly angered the Baloch population. They claim that locals have been driven away from the project area to facilitate the entry of the Chinese.

"They have handed over Gwadar port to them (Chinese). In Dera Bugti, deep welling is going on for the last one year. I have been saying it over and again that they have been doing shelling by using gunship helicopters and have forced people to migrate from the area. The Chinese presence is still there," said Brahamdagh Bugti.

The Baloch have always resisted their annexation to Pakistan, and have been fighting for greater autonomy and control over their natural resources.

The decades old movement has now metamorphosed into a full fledged movement for independence.

Successive Pakistan governments have tried to suppress the Baloch rebellion militarily. Nationalists say thousands have been killed and hundreds have been held at illegal detention centres run by Pakistan's spy agencies.

But the worsening security has not deterred the Chinese or Pakistani facilitators from pumping in billions into infrastructure and mining.

"It is not in it in their interest to easily agree to leave the gas resources, oil resources and other resources of Balochistan. I don't think they will let it go easily or agree to hold dialogue on this issue. They will try to use their force, which they have been doing. Perhaps they will increase their brutalities in future like they have done in Bangladesh in the past," says Bugti.

The Chinese have invested over 15 billion dollars in Pakistan's south western Balochistan province. Apart from an oil refinery, zinc and copper mining, the Chinese are also building an airport in the sparsely populated region. (ANI)

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