More reports on: Infrastructure - general, Roads

Amidst protests over CPEC, China opens Belt and Road summit

15 May 2017

Amidst protests across Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir against the $51.5- billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that aims to connect Kashgar in China's western Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Balochistan, China has come up with a global idea One Road One Belt - into which it has promised to invest over $78 billion.

While the thrust of the OBOR is on the CPEC, protestors across Gilgit see the two as a ploy by China to take over their territory. They described it as a ''Road of Gulami or Slavery for Gilgit-Baltistan''.

They see the CPEC as a military project for which China has entered Gilgit-Baltistan illegally with the help of Pakistan.

The OBOR, they point out, is a well thought cover-up plan to justify the illegal occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan and China - a two-pronged strategy to facilitate continued Chinese military presence in Pakistan and to counter the US influence.

China, meanwhile, got 29 nations, including the United States, to attend its One Belt One Road Summit in Beijing the communist nation's biggest foreign policy initiative in more than half a century.

India, however, opted to boycott the high-profile Belt and Road Forum, taking its protest over a controversial economic corridor traversing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to a new level, describing the project as an assault on its sovereignty.

In Gilgit-Baltistan, various students and political organisations, including Karakoram Students Organisation, Balawaristan National Students Organisation, Gilgit Baltistan United Movement and Balawaristan National Front, joined the protest against OBOR in Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Ghizer.

Carrying placards and banners demanding "Stop Chinese Imperialism" protestors called on the world community to stop the Chinese transgression on Gilgit's soil, which remains disputed since 1948-49.

China is reportedly establishing some military bases in Gilgit-Baltistan, a territory whose sovereignty is disputed, said the founder of the Gilgit-Baltistan Thinkers Forum, Wajahat Khan.

Both China and Pakistan have crushed the legitimate concerns of the people of the region, violating their human rights to achieve CPEC objectives. Various political and human rights organisations have expressed their concerns.

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