Protesters to be charged under anti terrorism laws - Pakistan on China Pakistan Economic Corridor row
Quoting minister Ahsan Iqbal, Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress director Senge Hasnan Sering tweeted, "Those protesting in #GilgitBaltistan against China led #CPEC will be charged under anti-terrorism laws: Minister Dr Iqbal."
In recent months, Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(Pok) has seen aseries of protests+ against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor+ (CPEC), leading a severe crackdown by the Pakistani security forces.
The people of Gilgit-Baltistan believe that the CPEC will exploit its water resources which would only benefit Pakistan. The locals are also worried about the increasing Chinese footprint in the region.
The leadership of Gilgit-Baltistan has been objecting to the controversial corridor for months.
The Gilgit-Baltistan based Awami Action Committee (AAC) had earlier called for an indefinite shutdown across the region, saying they will not be holding down their protest unless and until Pakistan withdraws its security forces and also rollbacks the CPEC.
AAC, an alliance of around 23 religious, nationalist and political groups, also demanded a complete withdrawal of the Pakistani forces from its soil. The alliance is also against the lack of share for Gilgit-Baltistan in the CPEC.
The strike call came days after a powerful senate committee, headed by Senator Taj Haider, visited the region to review the CPEC projects.
The committee members, who met several delegations during their three-day stay in Gilgit-Baltistan, confirmed that the region had no share in the CPEC.
Last week, the Pakistani Army arrested more than 500 young men in Gilgit-Baltistan who had come on to the streets protesting against them and asking them to vacate the occupation of the region.
So far, hundreds, including Gilgit's top political activist Baba Jan, has been arrested.
Delays in CPEC
Due to delays in the development of CPEC, the authorities in Beijing had last month suggested Islamabad to formally rope in the Pakistan Army+ to ensure smooth execution of the project.
Security official privy to the development said the Chinese were "unhappy with the overall management of the project, particularly the involvement of various ministries", which were causing unnecessary delays.
They envisioned the creation of a separate ministry or authority to deal exclusively with the CPEC. The project is currently being overseen by a special section set up at the Prime Minister's Office - with Iqbal's ministry of planning and development serving as the focal ministry.