GILGIT, May 15: As China opened one of its biggest foreign policy initiatives since 1949 — the One Belt One Road (OBOR) summit in Beijing, which is being attended by heads of state and government of over 23 nations, including Pakistan, protests broke out in Gilgit-Baltistan against the ongoing construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project under the Belt and Road initiative.
Various students and political organisations including Karakoram Students Organisation, Balawaristan National Students Organisation, Gilgit Baltistan United Movement and Balawaristan National Front have been protesting against OBOR in Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Ghizer.
They described the project as an illegal attempt to grab Gilgit and see it as a "Road of Gulami or Slavery for Gilgit-Baltistan". Protestors across Gilgit see the CPEC and OBOR as a ploy by China to take over their territory.
Carrying placards and banners stating "Stop Chinese Imperialism" protestors have been calling on the world community to stop the Chinese transgression on Gilgit's soil which remains disputed since 1948-49.
They claimed that China has entered Gilgit-Baltistan illegally with the help of Pakistan, adding that a well conceived two-pronged strategy has been put in place to facilitate continued Chinese military presence in Pakistan and to counter the US through CPEC.
The $51.5 billion multi-layered infrastructure project aims to connect Kashgar in China's western Xinjiang province with Gwadar Port in Balochistan.
China is reportedly establishing some military bases in Gilgit-Baltistan, a territory whose sovereignty is disputed, said the founder of the Gilgit-Baltistan Thinkers Forum, Wajahat Khan.
Both China and Pakistan have crushed the legitimate concerns of the people of the region, violating their human rights to achieve CPEC objectives. Various political and human rights organisations have expressed their concerns.(TOI)
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