Activists in Pakistan-Controlled-Kashmir are protesting against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which they have alleged to be pro-military rather than pro-economy. CPEC is a $46 billion mega-project, part of the Chinese broader version of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
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The United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) has been leading the protests with ‘regional political powers and governments’. The party has urged various powers to use their influence to stop Pakistan from creating a hostile environment, adding that CPEC was not a ‘pro-people project’.UKPNP’s former central secretary of foreign affairs Jamil Maqsood said the party is of the view that the project is pro-military and it has a strategic interest.
Moreover, the activists want an end to Pakistan’s ‘illegal’ and ‘forceful occupation’ of the region. Mr Maqsood said, “the party leadership also expressed their concern that the government of Pakistan is violating state subject rule in Rawalakot, Kotli, Bagh, Neelum, Muzaffarabad and other areas.” He further stated that they were allocating land to its retired army-men, bureaucrats and businessmen.
Mr Maqsood said the activists demanded Pakistan to release all those languishing in the prisons including Baba Jan who was imprisoned for peacefully demanding local development and empowerment of the local people.
Furthermore, the activists raised concerns about the environmental problems (due to dam projects) in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), and Gilgit Baltistan.
The Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing at the CPEC Career Summit 2018 at the Islamabad Air University on November 15 said CPEC is the best project for expanding economies of both the countries. “The project lays special emphasis on improving agriculture, human resource development and standard of education in Pakistan. Due to CPEC, job opportunities have been created in Pakistan, at least 70,000 people.”
He further said, “we want Pakistan to be economically dependent, hoping that the new government will pull the country out of poverty and put it on the path of progress and prosperity.”
China believes that CPEC is a window of development, through it, the people of China and the region can be contacted.