Pakistan has not offered any military bases to China in the strategic Gwadar port, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf has said while reiterating that any country can invest in the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project since “we are not closed to anybody.” The Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea has long been portrayed as the jewel in the CPEC crown, but in the process, the city has become the very embodiment of a security state in the restive Balochistan province.
“There are economic bases of China in Pakistan, where any country in the world can invest…the same were also offered to the United States, Russia and the Middle East. We are open to all countries,” Yusuf said in an interview with Stephen Sackur for BBC’s HARDtalk.
Massive protests had erupted in Gwadar last month against unnecessary checkpoints, a severe shortage of water and electricity and threats to livelihoods from illegal fishing.
These protests were part of growing discontent over China’s presence in Gwadar, whose port is an integral part of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.
India has protested to China over the CPEC as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The massive infrastructure project connects China’s Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan.
Yusuf called China, “a close friend of Islamabad” and underlined that any country in the world can invest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project since “we are not closed to anybody.” When asked whether Pakistan had developed close ties with China at the cost of raising its voice for Muslims around the world, particularly those in Xinjiang, Yusuf said that Pakistan does not agree with the Western version about the alleged atrocities being committed against Muslims in Xinjiang.
“We have relations of trust with China and our ambassador and other delegations from here also visited the Xinjiang province,” he said, adding that if Western countries have a problem with China, they should talk to Beijing about it.