ISLAMABAD – Given the current rate of influx of Chinese nationals into Balochistan and after the completion of the CPEC the native population of the area will be outnumbered by 2048.
To address the concern of the Baloch citizens regarding marginalisation, the government should provide a sense of security to the natives by including them in the legislative process, and by providing them with technical and vocational training to ensure their share in the economic sphere, recommended a report launched by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
The report was launched by FPCCI President Rauf Alam at a press conference here on Wednesday. Alam said the government could not separate the representations of the private sector and the main stakeholder of the economy from formulation of a policy regarding the CPEC.
He said the FPCCI had constituted an advisory committee on the CPEC, which prepared a comprehensive report.
Alam said the advisory committee on the CPEC had categorised all the ambiguities and controversial argument in six statements.
Dr Ayoub, head of research of the FPCCI, also gave a presentation to the media about the report on the CPEC prepared by the advisory committee on the CPEC.
As per the report the most important apprehension of the people of Balochistan relates to change in demography.
Gwadar is the ultimate destination of the CPEC while Balochistan is the least-populated province of Pakistan with rich natural resources.
These characteristics attract the people to settle in Baluchistan, while the CPEC will facilitate the people to travel and settle in the province.
It is quite obvious that ethnic patterns of population distribution will be affected by the inflow of people from China and other parts of Pakistan, the report said.
The report said conservatively 0.44 persons per thousand migrate from china because of economic reasons that corroborates the inflow of more than 600,000 people per year in Pakistan after operating the CPEC. At present Balochis are 55 per cent of the total population of Balochistan. The current growth rate of Balochistan’s population is 2.36 per cent.
This growth in population is the composition of crude birth rate, death rate and migration of the people in Balochistan from other provinces of Pakistan.
The stimulation results based on the existing rate of migration from China at 0.44 persons per thousand and rate of population growth at 0.43 per cent, we may predict that the share of Chinese in Balochistan’s population is destined to increase with the completion of the CPEC and by 2045 Chinese population may be greater than the population of people of Pakistani origin in the province.
However, “we have projected the trends of population on the basis of existing rate of population in Balochistan province, mainland China and entire Pakistan as per the result the Pakistani origin peoples will remain in majority in Balochistan up to 2048.” The optimistic aspect of the CPEC is the speedy developing infrastructure and improving livelihood conditions in Balochistan.
The incoming investors and settlers may offer attractive prices for land acquisition- even better than the growing market value.
This situation provides good financial opportunities to the poor natives of Balochistan.
However, Balochs ask one question that how the unskilled people of the province will maintain their lives without land ownership which is their only asset? the report said. But the answer to this question depends on the government policy regarding protection of the rights of investors, foreign workers and immigrants.
The change in population dynamics is the usual part of development and progress. However, the report said that there were several possible ways to avoid undesired situations.
One of the possibilities is to devise a mechanism where the training and educational facilities should be provided to the natives people on affordable cost and ensure their participation in economic activities including employment, business ownership and civic authorities.
The second mechanism is to secure the political supremacy of local peoples either by reserve seats in legislative and political institutions or through discriminatory voting rights.
The report covers the signing of the FTA with China and flooding of the Chinese products inflow of Chinese investment and migration of Chinese labour to Pakistan.
The report further said due to the FTA with China the trade deficit between Pakistan and China reached nine billion dollars, which was only one billion during 2002-2003.
China’s total share in Pakistan exports is around 11 per cent, while its 37 per cent import is from China. Import from China has rapidly grown since 2007 after signing the FTA with China. Pakistan is facing huge trade deficit even after the FTA with China.
The analysis of five years of trade before and after the FTA with China showing that balance of trade is in favour of China. After the FTA, Pakistan’s import from China increased four times.
The report recommended that in granting the incentives to Chinese investors and enterprises, the policy makers must not ignore the Pakistani investors.
The FPCCI has demanded to grant the same incentives to Pakistani businessmen as being provided to the foreign investors, and protection of the interests of the residents of Balochistan and Gwadar in specific through legislation.
Alam said the FPCCI also proposed to the government to give complete management of the economic zones under the CPEC to the private sector.