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Baloch activist condemns Gwadar fencing project, calls CPEC reason for siege

Balochistan activist Mehrang Baloch on Saturday said the fence around Gwadar was not just physical but was erected symbolically since the beginning of mega projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

She was speaking at a conference organized by the Baloch Yakzehti Committee (BYC) at the Quetta Press Club to condemn the Gwadar fencing project, with activists denouncing it as the construction of a “mega prison”.

The event, attended by many activists, intellectuals, scholars, lawyers and social and political activists, highlighted the ongoing struggle of Balochistan against the encroachment of Gwadar region.

Speaking at the conference, Mehrang Baloch claimed that Balochistan has been effectively declared a military zone, with the benefits of development disproportionately going to the Punjab province, while Balochistan faces devastation and neglect. .

“There is a fence there which we can see and feel physically, but I believe Gwadar has been fenced since the approval of mega projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project Due to which Balochistan has been declared virtually one. Military area,” he said.

“The fence of separation always surrounded Gwadar because of CPEC, because all the developmental projects went to Pakistan’s Punjab province, and we got floods, devastation, atrocities and destruction. The people of Balochistan were not able to raise their voice for their rights, even when they were fighting for their lives in the recent floods,” she said.

Highlighting the devastating impact of CPEC on Gwadar, Baloch emphasized the widespread fear among locals, comparing it to the prosperity that major projects typically bring to communities in other countries. Citing recent incidents of kidnapping in urban areas of Gwadar, he lamented the state terrorism that residents of Balochistan continue to face.

“The so-called help given during that time was useless to us, because generators were given to us to pump water, but we could not demand the oil required to run them. This is the great bravery of the people of Gwadar, who have taken an oath to never leave their motherland despite facing state atrocities. It is shameful that Pakistan has deployed two lakh defense personnel to control around one lakh people in Gwadar. And while our city was drowning in floods, all these so-called protectors were sitting safe in their homes,” she said.

Additionally, Baloch criticized the lack of transparency surrounding the story of developments in Gwadar and said that journalists attempting to report on the situation were either obstructed or given limited access. He dismissed the iconic photographs of development in the region as mere publicity stunts, arguing that they do not reflect the harsh realities faced by the residents of Balochistan.

“I have seen fear among the local people regarding CPEC projects, generally, in other countries, such major projects bring development and prosperity to the local people. But here the people of Balochistan are living in constant fear due to the negative impacts of CPEC projects. No person belonging to any section of the society is living a normal life anymore. We are facing state terrorism because of the administration, because within a week, about 25 Baloch persons have been abducted from the urban areas of Gwadar,” she said.

“The famous and iconic pictures we have seen are just for publicity. Because not only the general public, but even journalists if they wish to visit the Gwadar area and report, they are refused or allowed to see the so-called developments in Gwadar very carefully or cautiously,” he said. Said.

The conference concluded with a call on the Pakistani administration to stop the Gwadar fencing project and address the grievances of the people of Balochistan, emphasizing the need for inclusive development and respect for human rights.

BYC’s condemnation of the Gwadar fencing project underlines the ongoing tensions over CPEC and its impact on Balochistan’s marginalized communities, raising relevant questions about development, security and autonomy in the region.

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