New Delhi: – The locals held strong demonstrations against the dams being built by Pakistan and China on the Jhelum river, in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). The protestors have called on the Pakistan government for an explanation regarding the dams and the protestors have emphatically told the Pakistan government that the resistance would continue till the projects are cancelled. On Monday, an agreement worth $1.5 billion was signed between Pakistan and China, for building a dam on the Jhelum river, in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. The protest in POK started the very next day.
Pakistan is building two hydro-electric projects in POK, in collaboration with China. Agreement for the hydro-electric project with a capacity of 1124 megawatt and a capital outlay of $2.5 billion, was signed in the last month. Agreement for the second hydro-electric project with a capacity of 700 megawatts, worth $1.5 billion, was signed on Monday.
But there is a tremendous discontent in the people of POK, regarding these projects. Both the projects are being built under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) scheme. On Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the Pakistan population that this project is an investment and will not burden the people of Pakistan. Imran Khan said that he has learnt a lot from the Chinese progress and expressed hope that the CPEC scheme will take Pakistan to new heights.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is forced to reassure the people of Pakistan regarding the CPEC scheme and the projects undertaken in the scheme, time and again, as there is widespread criticism on these projects in Pakistan. Accusations are rife that buckling under the burden of the high-interest loans, given by China under the disguise of investments, Pakistan has become a Chinese colony. To pay the interest on these borrowings from Chinese, Pakistan is forced to borrow funds from other global institutions. A carrot that these projects will create a huge number of jobs and employment opportunities had been dangled in front of the Pakistan population. But by now, the Pakistan population has been disillusioned. Instead, the Pakistani analysts themselves are claiming that Pakistan is getting deeper in the debt trap, because of this.
CPEC scheme passes through POK, Gilgit Baltistan and Baluchistan and there is tremendous discontent there regarding the scheme. There have even been attacks on the Chinese workers, in Baluchistan. Protests are being held consistently in Gilgit-Baltistan and POK. People from these places are accusing that Pakistan is only looting the resources from these regions and meting out injustice to the people there.
On Tuesday, the protestors asked a direct question to the Pakistan government ‘What right do Pakistan and China have to build a hydro-electric project on Jhelum?’ Also, the effort to acquire the territory and rivers in this manner amounts to violation of the resolution of the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, India warned Pakistan to vacate POK, even in the last week. China and Pakistan both fear that India will acquire POK and the mounting discounted in the people of POK is adding to the concerns of China and Pakistan.