Pakistan have this week “evacuated” more than 50 Chinese nationals working in PoK amid exchange of fire along LoC by Indian and Pak troops confirming presence of China in the territory illegally occupied by Pakistan.
The Chinese nationals who were moved to a ‘safe zone’ by Pakistani officials were working on a dam being constructed in PoK along the confluence of the Neelam and Jhelum rivers, ET has learnt. The Chinese nationals were shifted by local disaster management authority.
It is not yet clear whether these Chinese nationals were troops stationed to guard the projects or engineers and workers on the project. It is also not yet clear whether Chinese nationals were working on projects closer to LoC.
China had invested heavily in infrastructure projects worth $ 11-12 billion in PoK even before the BRI was launched. India in past had protested with both China and Pakistan against Chinese funded projects in PoK. Last year India has lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through PoK. China Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC a key pillar in mega BRI also passes through PoK violating Indian sovereignty, officials here asserted.
Last year local activists in PoK have come out in protest against the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor’s actual intention. The activists had also raised concerns about serious environmental problems in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan due to construction of dams and other projects. The over $60 billion CPEC that connects Kashgar in western China with Gwadar port in Pakistan, spanning 3,000 kilometres, is among key reasons why India has not endorsed BRI.
Pakistan and China do not share border. Pakistan’s only link to China is through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, which is part of Jammu and Kashmir. It is India and Afghanistan which share a border, now cut-off by PoK.