Massive Protests Erupt In PoK Against China, Pakistan Over Construction Of Dams
The dams are being constructed by Chinese companies, and the locals fear that they pose an existential threat to the population in the region. The dam on Jhelum is located 90 km from Islamabad. The project is expected to be complete by 2026
Pakistan has retained its obsession with Kashmir, which remains a big matter for it politically and militarily. It has been at the epicentre of the dispute between India and Pakistan. Though now it is more of a pinprick for India. Islamabad has made repeated attempts to internationalise Kashmir matter since August 5, 2019, when the Indian government abrogated Article 370, it has received a Practically no response from global bodies or its allies except Turkey. India has, on global platforms, highlighted Pakistan’s atrocities against residents of PoK and Baluchistan.
Now massive protests have erupted in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) over the construction of two mega-dams by China and Pakistan in that region. People came out in large numbers on Monday night to condemn the proposed construction of dams on Neelam and Jhelum rivers.
The protests were organised by one ‘Darya Bachao, Muzaffarabad Bachao’ (Save Rivers Save Muzaffarabad) committee and the members shouted slogans of ‘Neelum Jhelum Behne Do, Humein Zinda Rehne Do’.
Recently, Pakistan and China signed agreements to construction mammoth hydel projects – Azad Pattan and Kohala Hydropower in PoK region.
As reported earlier, the Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project involves the generation of 700.7 megawatts of electricity and is part of the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project has been sponsored by Chinese group – China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) at a whopping $1.54 billion.
Sponsored by China’s Three Gorges Corporation, the Kohala Hydroelectric Project is located 90 km from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. It is expected to be completed by 2026 and has been sponsored by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Silk Road Fund.
The protestors are miffed with the disruptions the dams are expected to cause to their lives. The residents have often raised their voices against increasing Chinese presence in the area.
The protests may be viewed against the backdrop of the geopolitical situation in the region, wherein India and China are locked in a bitter standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Cornered by the world community led by the US over coronavirus pandemic, China has been building stronger bonds with its allies, including its ‘all-weather’ ally Pakistan.