Geneva [Switzerland], Sept 24 (ANI): Baloch political and human rights activists have accused Islamabad of allowing Beijing to build the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) project from Balochistan, the resource-rich province which has been facing decades-long insurgency.
Speaking after a side event during the ongoing 39th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Hatim Baloch of the Human Rights Council of Balochistan said, "CPEC brings more destruction, more army operations. Many villages which were coming in the CPEC route are being razed by the Pakistan Army and it has intensified the situation. It is not for Baloch indigenous people, so they are suffering more. It is not bringing any positive change, and it is making the situation worse".
Expressing his disillusionment over the Imran Khan-led government in Pakistan, Hatim said, "The main issue is the enforced disappearances, the military operations and the killing of our people. Unfortunately, these are the main human rights violations which we have been facing since the Pakistani occupation. The situation is getting worse day by day since 2004-05, and the Chinese investments have made the situation more complex."
The event was addressed by many speakers from Europe, including members of the European Parliament.
Senior expert at Brussels-based Cooperation in Higher Education (Europe-Asia) Brian Toll said the rise of extremism in Pakistan is a cause for concern. "It is very clear that the Army has been supporting extremist elements and it is known that they have been providing support to Taliban in Afghanistan as well. Pakistan is a very conservative society which is very much in favour of the Sunni majority. Hence, it is more difficult for all minorities to exist peacefully and develop their lifestyle, their economies, and to feel secure and safe within a civil society", Toll elucidated.
Recognising the problems spelt out by three representatives from Balochistan at the event, Toll asserted, "I think it is a great tragedy that they feel themselves in this condition in terms of representation in Parliament, the kind of life they lead, enforced killings, extrajudicial actions etc. I think what they need is an ability to develop a kind of regional approach to life as we have seen in other civilised democratic countries where power is gradually developed from the centre towards the regions."
Pointing out that the Army still remains a strong institution in Pakistan and the elected government acts like its puppet, Toll emphasised, "Imran Khan has an incredibly difficult job. He said he wants better relations with the international community, greater freedom within Pakistan, more transparency (in the system), more work towards education and he wants to have an Islamic welfare state. Therefore, we should be supporting such people to move forward. But, the real question is how much power will he be allowed to exercise with parties such as the military and the ISI around?" (ANI)