In recent years, China and Pakistan have cooperated on major projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and assisted the local authorities in building various infrastructures, such as transportation and communication. Balochistan, being a crucial zone of CPEC, is the area where the Chinese workers face the highest security threats. Most of the terrorist attacks that the Chinese have faced originated from Balochistan. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) frequently carries out terrorist attacks on security forces, Chinese personnel and civilians.
This is mainly to pressurize the Pakistani authorities, thereby forcing them to compromise on their development projects.
Read more: CPEC: How it will impact Pakistani society?
Understanding the matter better
On April 26th, a shuttle bus of the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi encountered a terrorist attack of suicidal nature in which 3 Chinese teachers, including an innocent civilian, were killed. Several others were injured. Soon after the attack, the BLA, a designated terrorist and banned outfit, claimed responsibility. The terrorist attack on teachers is shocking as the suicide bomber in this attack was a woman who was not only educated but also a mother of two. Shari Baloch held a dual master’s degree in Zoology and Pedagogy. She was working as a teacher in a public secondary school in Balochistan. Most of her family members are civil servants. In the past, terrorist attackers were mostly people belonging to the depressed class.
This is the first time that a female high-level intellectual suicide bomber was seen, which is worrying. It also means that the organization’s penetrating ability is stronger than it was in the past. The strategy of this attack shows that it was a deliberate, premeditated suicide terrorist attack against the Chinese presence in Balochistan. The BLA aimed directly at teachers, the inheritors of human civilization and the promoters of cultural exchange activities. That it recruited a female teacher for this purpose makes it a more heinous crime.
This is not the only terror event of late. Last year, on February 25th, the BLA attacked a company in the CPEC employing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that injured 4 employees of the company and 2 military personnel. On July 14th, 2021, a bus in northwest Pakistan exploded and crashed into the canyon, killing 13 people, including 9 Chinese. On August 20th, 2021, Majeed Brigade of the BLA attacked a convoy of Chinese engineers in Gwadar, resulting in the deaths of 2 Pakistani children playing by the roadside. Many, including one Chinese person, were injured.
What makes the BLA so unscrupulous?
The people in this region were forcibly divided by the colonialists with strong nationalist vigilance, and strong resistance to the modern governance of the Pakistani federation, which gradually formed a tradition of extremism. The likes of BLA have been engaged in various terrorist activities since the early 1950s. The members of this organization are highly scattered and live in different tribes. Most of them are in continuous motion. This makes it difficult to track them down. Not only that, but the BLA is supported by foreign entities in terms of funds, weapons and even intelligence for a long time, which makes it even more difficult to annihilate it.
It has been ranked first in committing the number of terrorist attacks on Chinese people since 2004, as recognized by Pakistan. These attacks have also targeted the security forces and civilians in Pakistan. In recent years, the BLA has gradually changed its attack methodology from attacking Pakistani officials and military forces to attacking foreign institutions and enterprises in Pakistan.
Terrorism is the cancer of modern human society. No matter when and where it occurs or what form it takes, it must be resolutely cracked down. With further development of the CPEC, Chinese workers will have increased involvement in Pakistan, so it is urgent to take necessary precautions. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic partners. The friendship between China and Pakistan is unbreakable. The state of Pakistan has declared that any attempt by terrorists to undermine the China-Pakistan mutual trust and cooperation will inevitably fail. The CPEC will live long. At the same time, the China-Pakistan blood must not be wasted, and terrorists must pay a heavy price for their crimes.
The writer is a scholar of history and politics. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.