‘Baloch targeting Chinese to protect their territory, identity’

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LONDON: Days after a convoy of Chinese engineers was attacked in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, a prominent Baloch activist justified the incident calling it an attempt by the indigenous people to protect their identity and land.

Hakeem Baloch, a journalist and a senior activist of the Baloch National Movement (BNM) based in the UK, said that China has been investing heavily in the region for its own economic and military interests.

He said, ‘The Chinese investment is not for the Baloch people, it’s in reality, not even for the Punjab (a province in Pakistan). What China is looking for is Gwadar Port. China wants to strengthen its military power, China wants to strengthen its military growth in the region by controlling the Gwadar port.’

‘If China controls Gwadar port, they can control the Middle East from there. And with that China will become a regional power. For the people of Balochistan, there is nothing in these huge projects’, he said.

Gwadar, a seaport town in Balochistan is witnessing developmental projects as part of the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. A large number of Chinese engineers are engaged in projects financed by the Chinese government.

Hakeem said that these development projects are not benefiting the indigenous Baloch and they are getting poorer.

He said, ‘First thing, one has to be clear is that the Baloch are not against development. They are not against any development be it from any country or any part of the world. But, at this very moment when the Baloch are a slave and Balochistan is under slavery when the lives of people in Balochistan are miserable, when the stories of people of Balochistan is about death, sorrows and brutality, how one can imagine coming to Balochistan and they can live a life which the locals can’t imagine’.

‘How can someone live in Air-conditioning, drink mineral water, have good food, good health while the actual indigenous people of Balochistan are suffering for basic needs of life’, said the Baloch activist.

There are several armed Baloch groups in the province who have been fighting against Pakistan’s illegal occupation of their land. The presence of China in the area has been creating hindrances in their movement to fight for their rights.

Hakeem Baloch explained about the attacks on the Chinese, ‘The reality is – Balochistan is a war zone, there is a war going on, the Baloch armed organisations are struggling for the freedom of Balochistan. They are the only force in the region that has stood up against China’.

‘What China is doing in the region, everyone can see that, but Baloch is the only force that is constantly resisting them. So, when it comes to the reality check, when it comes to the ground realities of Balochistan, the Baloch people have no other option but to resist it either politically, or with arms whoever can, they are doing the best possible way they can’, he said.

Balochistan was the free land before the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Hakeem believes that Balochistan has its own historical, geographical boundaries.

He added, ‘Pakistan, in the name of Islam, occupied Balochistan in the name of brotherhood, religion and they took over the resources of Balochistan, they took over the freedom of Balochistan and what they gave us is slavery, occupation, suppression, brutality, kill and dump, drugs, religious extremism and no education, no basic necessities of life, no jobs and no business opportunities available for the people of Balochistan. So, the Baloch people are living a really sad and hard life’.

‘The everyday hardship of Baloch people, we and you can’t even imagine the way they live in Balochistan, the way they continue their life with all those brutalities’, said Hakeem.

He said that Baloch are not against the Chinese but they are helping Pakistan to crush the Baloch struggle. ‘The Baloch military organisations, the Baloch militant organisations, the Baloch armed groups, the Balochistan Liberation Front believe that China is supporting our occupier, China has actually strengthened the weakened Pakistan’.

‘Without the help of China and aid by China and other countries around the world Pakistan cannot survive. Pakistan is surviving and they are continuing the brutality in Balochistan with the support and aid of China. That is why they are attacking the Chinese in Balochistan’, the Baloch activist said.

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