South Asia
One Belt, One Road, One Virus: Gilgit and PoK leaders seek immediate end to project

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 25 Mar 2020

Political leaders from Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan have called for an immediate end to China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative as they feel that it is a roadway which might destroy Gilgit and many other corners of the globe through the spread of coronavirus.

One Belt, One Road (OBOR), the ambitious Chinese catchphrase to rope in 78 countries in its dream connectivity project for the economic domination of the world, has now emerged as one growing tension as it might lead to the spread of COVID 19 infection in the regions where China is involved.

Owing to the presence of Chinese workers in large numbers working in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, it is feared that  Gilgit Baltistan will witness a severe turmoil in the upcoming days owing to the spread of the virus.

"The border between China and Gilgit Baltistan should be closed as the spread of coronavirus in the region is on increase," said Dr Amjad Mirza, a Pakistan occupied Kashmir political activist, was quoted as saying by ANI.

"So far more than 21 people are confirmed to be infected with coronavirus but the actual figure is much higher. No masks or sanitiser is available in Gilgit Baltistan," he said.

The people of Gilgit region have been opposing CPEC project since its launch by China and Pakistan.

They have been describing it as an explotative project.

Senge H Sering, a political activist from Gilgit Baltistan told ANI: "Gilgit Baltistan is a direct neighbour of China's Xinjiang and its inhabitants are getting Coronavirus infection transmitted from a completely unexpected location like Iran." 

He said, "Given Pakistan's dismal economic situation, locals are distrustful about lack of preparedness that could lead to thousands of Corona-related deaths in the coming weeks." 

Pakistan is an all-weather ally of China and did not even evacuate its own students when Wuhan was badly hit by the virus earlier this year.

Several videos of Pakistani students pleading to be evacuated from the city had emerged on social media earlier.

The presence of Chinese workers in Pakistan for the construction work under China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC) -- flagship project under the mega OBOR -- has triggered doubts of it being a possible cause behind the sudden surge in the number of COVID 19 infected cases in the country in the past few days.

OBOR is the brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe. Branded as the “Project of the Century”, OBOR is now the path to perdition for countries like Italy and Iran while Pakistan, which looks up to China as its all weather ally to trouble India, sits on a powder keg of coronavirus. 

In a noticeable event, two nations- Italy and Iran- which have participated in China's flagship initiative 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR),  are currently suffering the most due to COVID 19 outbreak which first originated from China's Wuhan region and later spread to different corners of the globe.

It is perhaps rightly called the Chinese Wuhan Virus, by the likes of US President Donald Trump. Well, the virus has now migrated to Europe and other parts of Asia.

Iran and Italy are currently one of the two most affected nations as the virus leaves a trail of deaths, infections and despair.

It is well known now how Italy and Iran signed up the OBOR in 2019, opening their sectors to Chinese investment, from infrastructure to transportation. It meant engaging thousands of Chinese workers for construction work under this Belt and Road initiative.

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