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Pak lawmaker slams ‘ongoing exploitation’ by Chinese firms in Balochistan

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 9 (ANI): A lawmaker from Pakistan’s Balochistan has slammed the “ongoing exploitation” by the Chinese firms working on power projects in the province and asked the government to “reign in the companies” that are destroying the marine life, and ending the livelihood of local fishermen.

An independent lawmaker, from the largest province in the country, Aslam Bhootani, has accused Chinese firms of destroying the environment and marine life in the coastal areas, besides denying jobs to locals, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Addressing the provincial National Assembly, Bhootani slammed Chinese firms for not coming to the help of the people at the time of devastating floods in the province.

The Balochistan lawmaker, representing Lasbela and Gwadar, called them “cheaters”, alleging that the companies were not paying taxes, according to the Dawn report.

Chinese companies were operating as “forces of exploitation” in Balochistan, he said.

“No doubt, China is our friend and helped us on numerous occasions. We have no complaints against China. But the Chinese companies are playing havoc in the area,” he said.

The Balochistan lawmaker questioned the lack of accountability of the Chinese companies, saying that they had been operating under the protection of the country’s powerful army.

He also complained that even the environment tribunal was not taking any action against those companies which are destroying marine life. “Working under the protection of the army doesn’t mean that you have permission to destroy infrastructure,” he said.

Bhootani’s criticism comes as protests against the Chinese trawler mafia and the lack of basic amenities like medical facilities are increasing in Balochistan, according to vernacular media.

Activists from Haq Do Tehreek, led by Maulana Hidayatur Rehman Baloch and Hussain Wadela, recently organised a protest rally to highlight the various problems of Baloch people near Main Chowk of Pasni.

A large number of local people including the fishermen participated in the protest. Locals complain that the trawler mafia has ruined the livelihood of local fishermen in the coastal city. Chinese projects have not provided employment opportunities to locals as they had promised.

While Chinese trawlers have depleted fish stocks and exploited natural resources, the project has also fuelled a high level of corruption with retired army officials being appointed in key positions overseeing CPEC and filling their pockets.

Addressing the gathering, Maulana Hidayatur Rehman and Hussain Wadela said that the Haq Do Tehreek is a public movement against the illegal practices of Chinese capitalists and other influential people. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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