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Despite flow of Chinese funds, resentment in Gilgit-Baltistan

As Chinese President announces billions of dollars of investment in Pakistan to take forward the ambitious silk road to connect the Pakistan port to Central Asia and to China, there is resentment on the ground in Gilgit-Baltistan, part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which sits at the centre of the planned infrastructure connectivity.

“No royalty, compensation”

“We are not Pakistani citizens, we do not get royalty, we do not get compensation…All the trade and revenue that’s generated goes to Pakistan and China. Local people are not happy, they are not getting jobs,” said Senge Hasnan Sering, president of the Institute for Gilgit-Baltistan Studies, while speaking at an event organised by India Foundation on Monday.

Mr. Sering observed that China was investing about $100 billion in Gilgit-Baltistan and about $ 18 billion in tunnels alone.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently on a two-day visit to Pakistan and has >announced investments worth $45 billion in various infrastructure projects.

“India has right to take interest”

Mr. Sering called for greater Indian interest in the region. Even if Gilgit-Baltistan was considered a dispute between the two countries then India had equal right to talk and take interest in the region.

“If India cannot help us due to border issues, if Pakistan doesn’t give us constitutional rights, then we have to have our own Constitution,” he added. He said there was a growing constituency talking about freedom.

Mr. Sering also highlighted the concerns of security and terrorism in the region stating that “China is always concerned about militants creating problem in Xinjiang, but China is not worried about militants in Kashmir.” He pointed out that they all use the same infrastructure and aligned to the same people and the Chinese need to condemn all forms of jihad and put pressure on Pakistan.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 1:58:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/despite-flow-of-chinese-funds-resentment-in-gilgitbaltistan/article7126933.ece

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