Balochistan, despite being the largest province of the country in terms of area, historically remained underprivileged due to lack of socio-economic development, infrastructure development, education and employment opportunities which has badly affected the peace and stability in the province. Pak-China economic collaboration for CPEC under the ambit of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has proved to be a forerunner for improving socio-economic dynamics in Balochistan.
Gwadar has become a linchpin of the CPEC and is being termed as the “Game Changer” in the regional maritime arena. Since the launch of CPEC in 2015, Pakistan and China have initiated multi-billion dollars projects related to electricity generation, modernization of roads and rail infrastructure, development of new optical fiber, development and commercialization of Gwadar Port, establishment of various economic zones and a number of training facilities for skill development. While the development under CPEC has raised many hopes and opportunities, it has also caused reservations/ uncertainties about the exploitation of natural resources and future of Balochistan. However, the soundness of these reservations, or otherwise needs to be ascertained through facts and analysis.
While it is widely believed that Pak-China co-operation for development of Balochistan will help both countries to boost the socio-economic development, but many believe that engagement of China under CPEC is a move to dominate and exploit natural resources of Balochistan. CPEC is also propagated as a “debt trap” and will have negative/ far reaching impact on Pakistan.
Therefore there is a need to differentiate false perceptions from reality. In this backdrop, National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) is organizing a webinar to highlight the facts about CPEC, and Chinese engagement in Gwadar and Balochistan. Further, the discourse will probe into the state of mortgaging the natural resources of Balochistan under CPEC projects.
Program of webinar:-