Gwadar protests will be detrimental to future foreign investments in Pakistan: Think tank

Gwadar protests will be detrimental to future foreign investments in Pakistan Think tank
Boys sit on a piece of styrofoam sheet as they search for crabs in front of the Gwadar port, Pakistan April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

OTTAWA: Extremist outfits like the Pakistani Taliban and Jamaat-e-Islami are attempting to take control of national narrative and policies in Pakistan, which according to a Canada-based think tank is detrimental for future foreign investments in Pakistan.

The International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) said the ongoing protests and terror attacks against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will cost the project and Pakistan.

“There has already been a decline in Chinese investment in Pakistan. This can be detrimental for future foreign investment in Pakistan, inflicting further damages to the ailing economy of Pakistan,” said the think tank.

The think tank remarks come in the wake of protests by locals in Gwadar in Balochistan. Months of long sit-ins and the protests in Balochistan have rattled the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government and forced the authorities to deploy thousands of additional police in the region.

Gwadar has been pitched as a key node of the Belt and Road-linked China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The residents of the port city in Balochistan province on December 16 called off their sit-in after negotiations with the government. For the past several weeks, thousands of people were protesting demanding basic rights in support of the “Gwadar ko haq do” movement in the port city.

Pakistani officials had claimed that Gwadar and CPEC will transform the region’s economic geography by providing China’s landlocked Xinjiang region.

Among other things, thousands of residents were demanding access to clean drinking water and an end to the “trawler mafia”. The demands also included the removal of additional check-posts at Pushkan, Sarbandan and Gwadar City, and the opening of the Pakistan-Iran border. The think tank said that the recently held protest in Gwadar saw the government giving in to demands of the protestors.

There are strong undercurrents of the CPEC having failed to deliver on promised prosperity even six years after its inception. “Chinese and Pakistani leaders had in 2015 promised to transform Gwadar into Dubai or Shenzhen. However, the city is still struggling to get basic civic facilities. During the recent protests, the slogan Give Rights to Gwadar Movement had become quite famous,” the think tank said.

“Gwadar is the main strategic hub of Chinese activities and it houses Gwadar port, which is touted as the ‘jewel of the CPEC’. At the same time, it is the epicentre of anti-China sentiments,” it added. (ANI) 

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