LONDON: Balochistan and its Gwadar port have been the only reason for Chinese interest and investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), providing China with greater connectivity to Central Asia, Africa and Europe. However, Balochistan, including its port city of Gwadar, is not being given its due share compared with the mighty projects allocated to central Punjab.
Ideally most projects coming under the CPEC should have been allocated to the poor areas of Balochistan and the rest of the country by providing connecting routes and support, but the vote bank of the Nawaz government in Punjab and the long-term policy of rewarding the rich and powerful areas for being rich and powerful has been the reason for allotting major projects to certain areas, which will only ensure that the people of Balochistan remain poor, powerless and neglected.
The smaller provinces have been protesting against the unfair distribution of wealth and projects for decades and the planned distribution of the CPEC projects will only widen the gap between Lahore and Gwadar. Our ruling elite need to realise that the surest way of removing any separatist tendencies that there may be in Balochistan will be to rectify the grievances of the Baloch by simply providing them their fair share in CPEC projects.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2016.