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Protests near Gilgit in January 2016 against CPEC / News Bharati
Protests in Pakistan against (and for?) Belt and Road
On May 16, we noted a report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn disclosing details from documents that set out the long-term plan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a transportation, investment, agriculture, and infrastructure development link between the far western Xinjiang Province in China and the port of Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan, which is a key component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. On May 16, the Times of India reported that “various students and political organizations” have been protesting against CPEC in Gilgit and other towns on the Karakoram Highway, which runs from Pakistan to China. The Times says that the protesters carried signs reading “Stop Chinese Imperialism” and described CPEC “as an illegal attempt to grab Gilgit” and “a ploy by China to take over their territory.” Dissatisfaction with CPEC has been simmering for some time: Here is a video of protests in 2016 against the plan.
CPEC is viewed with a great deal of suspicion in neighboring India, and this may have colored the reporting: Dawn has a rather different report, which states that “a large number of protesters gathered in Skardu on Monday to protest the exclusion of Gilgit-Baltistan from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.”