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HomeDiplomacyChina’s Debt Diplomacy Plunges Pakistani Fishing Community into Troubled Waters

China’s Debt Diplomacy Plunges Pakistani Fishing Community into Troubled Waters


Illegal trawling and overfishing continue in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, sparking a new wave of mass protests by residents. The protests highlight the excessive presence of Pakistani security forces in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province geographically but economically the poorest. The demonstrations also highlight the plight of the local Baloch people and their growing dissatisfaction with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which according to locals has brought little benefit. Ahead of next year’s general elections, Pakistan faces a unique push-and-pull between the need to address an economic crisis amid mounting debt and the need to listen to urgent public demands. increase.


Gwadar has about 90,000 inhabitants and is the center of most cities. month of protest We oppose overfishing by non-local fishermen in the waters of port cities, and we oppose the government’s inability to maintain basic living conditions and protect local fishermen’s fishing rights. The demonstration was led by Baloch clerics, including fishermen, workers and young students, who threatened to block his CPEC project, the flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, if the government failed to meet their demands. Protesters demanded basic amenities such as water, electricity and better education for local residents and the elimination of unnecessary military checkpoints in the area.


At the heart of the protests is the dissatisfaction felt by Balochistan residents against the Pakistani militia regime.Decades of resource extraction by the elitist civil-military Pakistani government, coupled with a geographical military glut ‘unkind unkind‘Leave the state, the people Balox was confiscated and disgruntledIn addition to the precarious position of the population, CPEC project, which has been ongoing since 2013 and is worth approximately C$87 billion (PKR 14,527 billion).according to researcher, Gwadar’s CPEC project holds strategic value for China. Once completed, the project will give China access to the Indian Ocean and create an alternative route for cargo to China via the Strait of Hormuz.

somewhere in town Most of the population depends on fishinga federal scheme that grants fishing rights chinese trawler Visible dissatisfaction with CPEC projects has arisen, regardless of whether CPEC projects have the potential to create employment opportunities. Illegal trawl fishing has been a problem in the region since the 1960s, and in 2021 the Balochistan government will ban illegal fishing and trawl fishing within 12 nautical miles of the coast of Gwadar. but, Local fishermen continue to face competition From international ships, including neighboring Sindh and Chinese ships. This, coupled with the fact that 91% of the revenue from operations at Gwadar Port goes to Chinese state-owned enterprises, multiple peaceful protests against the Pakistani state and China (Figure 1), violent attack More than 20 Chinese workers have been killed since 2015. In response, Pakistan tightened security in the province by deploying about 15,000 security personnel around the Chinese workers. In Balochistan, separatist movement Since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, Baloch separatist groups have carried out regular attacks against Pakistani security forces (Figure 2).

Organized political violence in Balochistan

what’s next

  1. The future of port towns: of of 14 proposed CPEC project in Gwadar, only four have been declared complete.Locals have protested for years and the government has promised to act on various demands, but often underdeliveryIn June 2022, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif said in a bid to assuage public anger over foreign interests: 2,000 engines It has pledged to replace all old water pipes and has announced the development of a 0.81-square-kilometer residential colony for Gwadar fishermen. Due to rising sea temperatures and continued overfishing due to climate change, Gwadar’s local fisheries still under threat.
  2. Upcoming elections and Pakistan’s debt to China: The strategic importance of the port city to China and Pakistan has given way to local protests. However, in the 2023 general election, Political Position on the CPEC Project Against the backdrop of Pakistan this is foreign debt to China (40 billion Canadian dollars or 6.7 trillion Pakistani Rupees).His CPEC project in Gwadar is mainly Subsidy, is not a loan. In early 2020, China accused Imran Khan’s Teliku-e-Insaf (PTI) government of Pakistan, saying: stall CPEC project. CPEC and Chinese investments are expected to play a key role in next year’s general election campaign as Pakistan’s economic crisis continues.

• Produced by CAST’s South Asia Team: Dr. Sreyoshi Dey (Program Manager). Narayanan (Hari) Gopalan Lakshmi (Analyst); and Prerana Das (Analyst)



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