Pakistan faces many serious problems — and among them is the status and invulnerability of holy cows, and people who are above Pakistani laws. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is not a living being, yet it has also gained the status of being one — and people are warned of serious consequences if they dare to oppose or criticise this new holy cow.
People are accused of being “anti-Pakistan” and “agents” of foreign powers because they dared to criticise holy cows — and some are facing sedition charges for attacking CPEC and demanding a share in the accruing benefits.
I am also among the “bad guys” who are perceived as “disrespectful” critics of this holy cow and who demand a fair share in the benefits because it runs without permission through our land, Gilgit-Baltistan, which is part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistani officials, some Pakistani people and Kashmiri foot soldiers of Pakistan may not like what I write or say. Their dislike and even hatred does not deter me from speaking out to protect and promote the interests of the people of J&K state.
In my opinion, CPEC could have the following negative effects on Gilgit-Baltistan:
- The status of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and Gilgit-Baltistan can change because of the CPEC.
- A serious danger of demographic changes; already hundreds of thousands of non-local people reside there and control local economy and politics.
- Exploitation of our resources will increase.
- Growing influence and power of secret agencies of Pakistan and competing interests of secret agencies of other countries.
- A serious danger that Gilgit-Baltistan could become a battleground for competing interests of countries and their proxies.
The CPEC could be a holy cow to some Pakistanis but to China it is an economic project with strategic and military significance. The Chinese are very cruel businessmen — they will fully exploit Pakistan just like Pakistan is exploiting resources of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. What one fears is that despite much hype and attraction, CPEC will prove to be a white elephant for Pakistan and it could prove to be Pakistan’s Waterloo.