WASHINGTON — The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, an infrastructure cooperative between Pakistan and China that is part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, has increased mass executions that are part of Pakistan’s ethnic cleansing in a region of southwest Pakistan known as Balochistan, according to Amnesty International.
Balochistan is a mineral-rich region inhabited by a poor and economically disadvantaged ethnic group known as the Baloch, who are descended from peoples of Syria and Iran. The Baloch want to separate from Pakistan because of years of discrimination.
Pakistani military forces have ramped up their indiscriminate killing of the Baloch in the past year, as China has begun building roads and bridges through the region’s mountainous terrain to connect cities across Eurasia to Beijing, Georgetown University Professor Christine Fair said Friday at a conference at The George Washington University.
China wants its workers on the project to be safe from interruptions or insurgencies, so Pakistani military and police are using that as an excuse to torture and kill Baloch civilians with no legal recourse, said Amnesty International’s T. Kumar.
“Pakistani security forces are in their full uniform in full view of everyone,” Kumar said. “They drag people from schools and universities, kill them, and dump their bodies. They do not hide it and do not care. On any given day, you will find a couple of hundred bodies with visible marks of torture thrown around. They are trying to instill fear and terror. . . These are called the ‘Kill and dump operations.'”
Most of the region’s oil resources are being used to fuel Pakistani military operations in other parts of Pakistan, Fair said.
The advocacy group Friends of Balochistan has also been trying to get members of congress to tour the region to get attention focused on the crisis, said group founder Ahmer Khan.