CPEC and Balochistan
Distinguished Lecture by Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua HI(M), (Retd),
Former National Security Advisor
February 24, 2021
“Future of world lies in the Afro-Eurasian region that begins from Balochistan and its significance has grown manifold with Belt and Road Initiative”. This was stated by, Lt. Gen Nasser Khan Janjua HI(M), (Retd.), former National Security Advisor during his address at a Public Talk organized by the China-Pakistan Study Centre (CPSC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad today under its Distinguished Lecture Series. Members of the diplomatic corps in Islamabad, academics, civil society, former and current diplomats were also present.
Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director CPSC delivered introductory remarks and stated that Balochistan is pivot of CPEC as Gwadar is vital to the multi-billion-dollar project. For this, Dr. Shabbir said, “development of Balochistan is crucial for success of CPEC” and it has a promise to “address issues of socio-economic development, communication infrastructure and unemployment.”
Lt. Gen Janjua, in his talk, gave an overview of emerging international geo-strategic environment and relevance of Pakistan. He stated that Pakistan seeks connectivity with Afghanistan, Central Asia and ultimately to Russia and in this, Balochistan plays a pivotal role through its geographical location and abundance of natural resources He was of the view that even Pakistan’s strategic significance lies in Balochistan, and only through peace and development in Balochistan it can be achieved.
He stated that Balochistan is gifted in terms of its geostrategic location as well as being a hub of natural resources which if fully utilised could be a catalyst for the entire region. He lamented that since the inception of the state of Pakistan, these unique attributes have made Balochistan a target for Pakistan’s adversaries, and consequently has been destabilised by internal and external elements. Yet, concerns of people are genuine and they need to be addressed.
Drawing on his experience as Commander Southern Command he shared views on hard-earned peace and said that, “in a State, it is all about people. If people are with you then you are victorious.” Similarly, focus should be on national integration as visible and real improvement in the Balochistan situation can only come about not by imposing force, but by ruling the hearts and minds of the people. He identified negative sub-nationalism as the root cause of insurgency. However, in response an integrated and “people-centric civil-military strategy was formulated which helped Baluchistan transition from flag burning to flag raising.”
On CPEC, he said that, on-going conflict in Balochistan requires political closure, which will open up new opportunities for people of Balochsitan. Federation and other provinces need to address apprehensions of people of Balochistan about their access to natural resources and land for CPEC to be successful in Balochistan. Similarly, in Gwadar focus should be on job creation and providing economic opportunity to every citizen. He underscored that humans are the assets for economic development.
The talk was followed by a question-and-answer session which was moderated by DG ISSI, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry. While answering a question on fighting insurgency in Balochistan through force, he said “It is never enough to hate your enemy, you have to do much more”. Meanwhile, to another question about Gwadar port, he stated “If Pakistan wants to contribute to the world then we should strive to bring everyone together and Gwadar port because of its location is an ideal port for whole of Asia”.
The talk concluded with Chairman BOG, ISSI Ambassador Khalid Mahmood presenting the Institute’s momento to the distinguished guest.