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China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) vs Defender of Balochistan, the Baloch Liberation Army!

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Human Rights Violations, Azghar Baloch
World Baloch Organisation Activist Azghar Baloch brings Human Rights Violations to the notice of International Community, Wikimedia

– by Meeran Baloch

May 15, 2017: China in collaboration with Pakistan is building Gwadar port for her military and economic interests without the consent of the Baloch nation. After constructing Gwadar port, China will be able to encircle USA and India in the Arabian Sea, and to some extent, it will be able to exert control over the Strait of Hurmuz choke as well.

China in partnership with Pakistan has also been robbing the gold and copper of Balochistan from Saindak project since 1995. Metallurgical Company of China (MCC) has obtained the Saindak project contract in 2003. From 2003 till 2013, in a decade, it has probably extracted 177,036 million tons of copper from this project; while the people of Balochistan are living a miserable life below the abject poverty line.

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Baloch natural resources are being used for the welfare of people of both countries, Punjabi Pakistan and China, while Baloch themselves are deprived of their own resources due to Punjabi colonial rule. Without the consent of the Baloch nation, both the new colonial powers are ransacking and looting Baloch national resources.

After pocketing of Saindak Gold and Copper money, both Pakistan and China have started another exploitive scheme of building Gwadar Port in the name of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Baloch armed organizations are fighting tooth and nail to stop this China-Pakistan Nexus on their soil, Balochistan.

In order to see the so-called CPEC through, Pakistan is killing and displacing the native Baloch living on the adjacent areas of the route of this China-Pakistan Nexus in Balochistan. Since 1999، a whopping number of Baloch men and women have been killed, disappeared, evacuated and terrorized by Pakistan army and ISI. Collective punishment of general public is their prime objective to prevent Baloch young from participating in the resistance.

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When the construction of Gwadar port started, Pakistan also accelerated the on-going spree of killing, disappearing, displacing and terrorizing of Baloch people in Balochistan, where almost 25000 Baloch men, including women, have gone missing, more than 5000 men have brutally been killed in extra Judicial practice. More than 500000 have forcefully been displaced from their own fatherland.

Baloch has been defending their fatherland from Pakistani colonial rule since 1948. Baloch made many attempts since that time to regain their independence from Pakistan, but all that efforts failed due to lack of discipline and international moral support.

The scope of 1948, 1958, 1968 and 1974 resistance movement was limited to only Kohistan Marri, Wadh and Kalat areas.

Nevertheless, the new movement which emerged in 1999 under the umbrella of Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), is entirely different from all previous movements; it is clandestine, disciplined, widespread and popular among the masses.

It is the first time in the history of Balochistan that all the areas of Balochistan are witnessing the same level of resistance against Pakistan from Kohistan Marri to Gwadar. BLA became a nightmare for Pakistani army, it practically endeavoured to safeguard the interests of Baloch and the same way Baloch trusted the leadership of BLA and consider it their defender.

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Today, the BLA targeted and killed personnel of Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) in Gwadar who were working on Chinese funded projects. FWO is a construction company own and directly control by the Pakistan Army. It has also built several military, naval, air force bases in Balochistan.

People of Balochistan are confident that as long as the Baloch Liberation Army is strong under the committed leadership, the dream of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would not be realised by any mean.

Meeran Baloch is a native of Gwadar, student of politics and he supports establishment of an independent Balochistan

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Analysts Claim, China’s New Silk Road May Raise Concerns Of Italian Workers

U.S. and Europe most impacted by trade with China are the ones which in recent elections and plebiscites have backed populist candidates and nationalist causes like Brexit, support fueled by anger at the effects of globalization.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shake their hands following the signing of a memorandum in support of Beijing's "Belt and Road" initiative, at Rome's Villa Madama, March 23, 2019. VOA

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed up his country Saturday to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious trillion-dollar transcontinental trade and infrastructure project. The memorandum signing in Rome was the centerpiece of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-stop visit to Europe and it will make Italy the first G-7 nation to participate in China’s so-called New Silk Road.

Italy’s endorsement of the BRI, which spans Eurasia as well as the Middle East and parts of Africa, has prompted the disquiet not only of the United States, but also of European Union leaders, who have voiced concern about Beijing’s growing political clout in Europe and its use of commerce as a tool of statecraft. The U.S. has been critical of the trillion-dollar project and warned about the risks of “debt-trap diplomacy.” Members of the EU are worried the plan could add to fissures in an already strained coalition.

They aren’t alone in worrying about what the longer-term consequences on Italy might be if signing up for BRI moves from symbolism into full participation. Matteo Salvini, head of the populist Lega party, which represents one-half of Italy’s coalition government, is indicating his opposition by staying away from the signing ceremony and won’t be present at a scheduled gala dinner afterward.

Salvini, an ideological bedfellow of Donald Trump and friend of the U.S. president’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, frets the BRI risks turning Italy into a Chinese colony and will saddle it with more debt. He also has publicly indicated his security concerns about allowing the Chinese control of critical infrastructure, including major ports.

“Before allowing someone to invest in the ports of Trieste or Genoa, I would think about it not once but a hundred times,” Salvini said earlier this month.

Some Italian officials in the economy and finance ministry have also offered behind-the-scenes warnings. They argue that while engaging with Beijing in this manner may help boost Italian exports to China, a prospect highlighted by Xi in marketing BRI, it will likely result in a bigger boost for cheap Chinese exports to Italy.

FILE - A map illustrating China's so-called "One Belt, One Road" megaproject, is displayed at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, China, Jan. 18, 2016.
A map illustrating China’s so-called “One Belt, One Road” megaproject, is displayed at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, China, Jan. 18, 2016. VOA

Such a scenario, they caution, could have a ruinous impact on domestic Italian producers and workers.

“If trade does take off significantly, it might be a matter of short-term gain, but long-term pain,” one official told VOA.

Despite the warnings, as well as U.S. and EU disapproval of Italy’s BRI endorsement, Conte and Luigi Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which makes up half of the country’s populist coalition government, says Chinese investment could kick-start Italy’s sputtering economy.

Several of the EU’s smaller cash-strapped nations have also signed up in the past two years to China’s BRI, hoping that by doing so their economies will be boosted.

Italy slipped into recession last year and its debt levels are among the highest in Europe. The populist coalition government came to power in June 2018 with high-spending plans, promising expensive pension reforms and a living wage for all Italians.

Italian ministers favoring BRI accuse other large EU countries, including France, which is critical of the BRI, of hypocrisy, saying they conduct multi-million-dollar deals anyway with China albeit outside the framework of the New Silk Road initiative.

“The way we see it, it is an opportunity for our companies to take the opportunity of China’s growing importance in the world,” Italy’s under secretary of state for trade and investment, Michele Geraci, told foreign reporters.

FILE - Journalist take pictures outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 15, 2017.
Journalist take pictures outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 15, 2017. VOA

But some Italian officials worry that view might be short-sighted.

They say while the BRI may offer Italy new funding sources — the country is still lagging well behind the foreign investment levels it enjoyed before the 2008 global financial crash — it could trigger a significant wave of Chinese imports, which would have long-term detrimental consequences for Italian industry, employment and politics.

The officials in the country’s finance ministry, who declined to be identified for this article, have been scrutinizing recent academic studies on the impact of Chinese imports on local labor markets. A series of studies, including those by economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson, suggests that Western countries and regions exposed to rising Chinese import competition see a major jump in unemployment, lower labor force participation and lower wages. Unskilled and manual workers are especially adversely affected.

The impacts “are most visible in the local labor markets in which the industries exposed to foreign competition are concentrated. Adjustment in local labor markets is remarkably slow, with wages and labor force participation rates remaining depressed and unemployment rates remaining elevated for at least a full decade after the China trade shock commences. Exposed workers experience greater job churning and reduced lifetime income,” noted Autor, Dorn and Hanson in a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, an influential U.S.-based nonprofit.

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Other recent academic studies have noted that the regions of the U.S. and Europe most impacted by trade with China are the ones which in recent elections and plebiscites have backed populist candidates and nationalist causes like Brexit, support fueled by anger at the effects of globalization. Brexit is Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

“Ironically, looking to Beijing for an economic boost and to alleviate economic deprivation could well hurt the workers and businesses who backed populists in the first place and who the populists want to help — Salvini gets that, but the rest of the coalition doesn’t,” observed an Italian official. (VOA)