At a time when countries which had joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and boast of significant Chinese investments are bearing the brunt of the Chinese Virus owing to extensive air travel to such countries, Pakistan is no exception. The country with significant Chinese investments, especially under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been affected by severely Coronavirus.
In fact, it is the worst hit in the South Asian region with 1,102 confirmed cases at the time of writing this story. But Pakistan being Pakistan has decided to use the Wuhan virus to its advantage. It is trying to use the virus for two of its major objectives- geopolitical interests in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), that is, alteration in the demography of the region and creating a major catastrophe in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan in order to garner international attention and by necessary implication, international aid.
As per recent reports, Kashmiri activists have been slamming the country for shifting Coronavirus patients from other parts of the Islamic Republic to Mirpur in PoK.
One of the political activists, Nasir Aziz Khan stated, “27 people were brought here on Monday, of which 13 were coronavirus positive. The results of the rest of them are awaited. Locals said that there are plans to shift hundreds of other patients from Pakistan”.
In the past also, the country drastically altered the demography of the region as a part of its larger policy to wage a proxy war against India.
Not very long ago, the Chief of Defence Staff and then Indian Army Chief, Bipin Rawat had said, “The issue on the other side is that Pakistan has very cleverly changed the entire demography of PoK, Gilgit Baltistan…We are not sure as to who is an actual Kashmiri or a Punjabi who has come and occupied the area…the Kashmiri idenity has been gradually eroded very cleverly by Pakistan.”
It seems that the country is literally using the disease manufactured by its all weather ally, the “world’s factory”, China as a bioweapon to wipe out the indigenous Kashmiri populations in PoK and to huddle the valley with people of other ethnicities, especially the Punjabis.
The Kashmiri activists in Pakistan reasonably and rightly believe that Pakistan government is shifting people from other provinces of the country to Pakistan occupied Kashmir in order to attract international aid.
Initially, the novel Wuhan infection had hit other parts of Pakistan, not the Pakistan occupied Kashmir. But the manner in which patients from other parts of Pakistan are being flooded into PoK, it is very much possible that the region might suddenly become the epicentre of the outbreak in the region.
Nasir Aziz Khan, spokesperson of United Kashmir People’ National Party said, “As soon as coronavirus started spreading across Pakistan, they did not take it seriously. In Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), there was only one positive case. Positive cases of coronavirus from Punjab province are being shifted to Mirpur city of PoK. Here, there are no basic health facilities and they used to take their patients to other parts of Pakistan for treatment. Some patients die while transporting them to hospitals due to poor road infrastructure.”
There are no testing facilities in PoK that could conduct basic blood and urine tests, leave alone the question of conducting complicated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests needed to diagnose COVID-19.
Khan added, “In Pakistan, there are better hospitals as compared to PoK, but they are shifting coronavirus positive cases to this region. When the locals started protesting, they were harassed.”
At such a time, Pakistan has been looking for international aid packages but to no avail. The Trump administration has been hammering it with aid cuts, along with other countries like Australia. Other countries like the United Kingdom too have been facing domestic criticism for financial assistance packages to Pakistan, which Islamabad has been misuing unabashedly.
Now, Pakistan wants to make another Hubei out of PoK so that it garners international attention and aid- aid that it will then use for funding Kashmir-focussed terror groups like Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar e Taiba, and also for funding Taliban-affiliated militants.
Pakistan is thus all set to artificially create a major disaster in PoK as the Islamic Republic prepares to capitalise upon the Pandemic that is fomenting toruble around the world.