PAKISTANI PROPAGANDA ACCUSES INDIA OF RUNNING A CELL TO SABOTAGE CPEC

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Pakistan has long been accusing India of trying to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Top Pakistani politicians and army generals have been blaming India for staging attacks in Pakistan through its external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Obviously, all this has been without proof.

But now the Pakistani propaganda has gone a step ahead by incorporating figures like when India founded this so called anti-CPEC cell and how much fund was allocated to it. General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan, while addressing an event in Islamabad today, charged India of running a cell to disrupt the CPEC.

“RAW established a new cell with a special allocation of over $500 million in 2015 to sabotage CPEC projects in Pakistan,” a Dawn report quoted him saying. While addressing an event in Islamabad, he further said, “India’s indirect interference in Pakistan is manifested in sponsoring Tehreek-i-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), Baloch and other sub-nationalist outfits and many other terrorist groups.”

Now the world can see through such baseless allegations coming from a country that is seen as a safe haven for terrorists and is increasingly becoming isolated in the world for this very reason, especially when it is against India, the world’s largest democracy, a growing global power, both economically as well as militarily and a responsible geopolitical entity.

It is Pakistan, in fact, that has been giving shelter to India’s and the world’s most wanted like Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and is main terror exporter to India, a fact that major world powers including the US and UK have started accepting. How can the world forget that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in hiding in Pakistan for years before he was hunted down and killed? How can Pakistan convince the world that it is not home to the Taliban and Al Qaeda factions and the Haqqani Network?

While the ruling Pakistani elite have been brazenly lying about establishing peace in their country and browbeating their propaganda to the world to tell that they have wiped out every terror outfit, the fact is, this year alone, over 450 civilians and around 200 security forces personnel have lost their lives in over 100 incidents in the country, data from South Asia Terrorism Portal shows.

WHY INDIA IS OPPOSED TO THE CPEC

China’s One Belt One Road initiative aims to de velop economic corridors in Asia, Africa and Europe, something that India is opposed to as one of such corridors, the CPEC. India is opposed to CPEC because a part of it passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir that is legally India’s. For strategic reasons also, India doesn’t welcome a Chinese presence just across the border in a disputed territory that India considers its own.

CPEC, AN INTERNAL SECURITY NIGHTMARE FOR PAKISTAN

Pakistan sees the CPEC, a long term $75 billion project from Gwadar port in Balochistan to Kashgar China’s Xinjiang province, as the next big thing in the nation’s history that will transform it into of hub and economic activity in this part of Asia.

But the fact is, it passes through many restive regions of Pakistan including Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Balochistan and terrorists groups that are hostile to China, including TTP and Al Qaeda, have threatened to attack Chinese investments in the corridor to avenge the so-called atrocities against Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang province.

Then there are ethnic people of areas the CPEC passes through who are opposed to it. A combine of religious groups in Gilgit Baltistan has demanded the complete removal of Pakistan’s Army from its soil.

Baloch people, who are fighting the Pakistani establishment for their freedom and have long been accusing Pakistan of exploiting their province, see the CPEC as yet another tool to exploit the Baloch people. Baloch nationalists blame Pakistan for forcefully acceding their province. Pakistani security forces are alleged to have killed thousands of Baloch people. Reports of rape, torture and disappearances are common. Baloch people say they are ethnically different from Pakistanis and are demanding freedom or autonomy to decide their own affairs.

How bad is the security scenario in the CPEC regions also reflects in the fact that Pakistan has raised a Special Security Division (SSD) of 15000 soldiers to protect some 7000 Chinese individuals and CPEC installations that are coming up. This is when the project has just begun. The CPEC was proposed in 2013 and an agreement between Pakistan and China was signed in May 2013.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA’S CONCERNS OVER CPEC!

“The CPEC has long been seen as symbolic of Sino-Pakistan economic cooperation. It is unlikely that China will change its supportive attitude on the CPEC in the short term, but the increasing cost of security is becoming a big problem in efficiently pushing forward the projects.”

This is what a piece in the Global Times, official mouth organ of China’s ruling party says.

The piece clearly talks about the need to look for the Southeast Asian opportunity with a gradual shift from CPEC to Southeast Asia. It says, “Beijing should consider giving more attention to its economic cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. The CPEC has long been seen as a flagship project in China’s Belt and Road initiative, but the initiative’s strategic focus may need to shift gradually toward Southeast Asia, where there is a wide infrastructure funding gap but a relatively stable regional environment that will enable China to efficiently push forward ventures under the Belt and Road initiative.”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC, a long term $75 billion project from Gwadar port in Balochistan to Kashgar China’s Xinjiang province, passes though many restive regions of Pakistan including Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Balochistan.

Many terrorists groups including TTP and Al Qaeda have threatened to attack the Chinese investments in the corridor to avenge the so-called atrocities against Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang province. A combine of religious groups in Gilgit Baltistan has demanded the complete removal of Pakistan’s Army from its soil. All other states than Punjab, through which the corridor passes, are alleging that the project has been conceived in a way so as to benefit the Punjab province only.

Add to it the international pressure that is expected to mount in the coming days with India’s proactive instance on Balochistan and PoK now, especially after Pakistan’s backstabbing. Narendra Modi gave Pakistan ample chances to mend its ways and stop exporting terror in Jammu & Kashmir but Pakistan didn’t reciprocate and kept on fuelling terror and tension in the state.

Balochistan has an active independence movement ongoing and the stories of Pakistan’s atrocities to crush it are slowly emerging, especially after Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, specifically mentioned in his Independence Day speech on August 15 that India will support the Baloch Movement and will highlight the Pak atrocities and human rights violations there. India, in fact, has raised Balochistan human rights violations at UN Human Rights Council.

Simultaneously, for PoK, India has now made it clear that if Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, then it is only about PoK and the whole state of J&K, including PoK and Gilgit and Baltistan is integral part of India. India, in fact, has requested China to desist from establishing any CPEC project in PoK that is a disputed territory and in forced Pakistani control.

So, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is not going to have a stable regional environment in its large territory, something that is a must for businesses to establish, survive and grow. That is the underlying theme of this article that we can say represents the official Chinese position here. The world knows nothing can appear in the Chinese media unless it is cleared by the Chinese power elite and lawmakers.

How bad is the security scenario in the CPEC regions also reflects in the fact that Pakistan has raised a Special Security Division (SSD) of 15000 soldiers to protect some 7000 Chinese individuals and CPEC installations that are coming up. This is when the project has just begun. The CPEC was proposed in 2013 and an agreement between Pakistan and China was signed in May this year. The security nightmare is only expected to grow as the CPEC spreads in more restive regions.

The Global Times article sums it up logically, “It is unlikely to be plain sailing for China and Pakistan in their attempts to push forward the CPEC due to challenges such as a complex regional environment, and people in the two countries should be prepared for potential setbacks.”

©SantoshChaubey