Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has attacked Chinese assets for the third time since August 2018 when the Imran Khan Government assumed power in the country. A few days before Imran Khan visited Balochistan including Gwadar City. The BLA attacked a convoy of 22 vehicles which has Chinese engineers and workers. The figures are still unknown but many media houses in Pakistan reported casualties of workers and engineers. The attack on the convoy happened in Karachi city near Hamdard University.
BLA is opposed to growing Chinese presence in Balochistan. The organization is also opposed to CPEC project which is being financed by China. In November last year BLA attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi. The people of Balochistan are against Pakistani colonization of their territory and resources. China has also claimed its fair share in natural of Balochistan’s resources through CPEC without taking local leadership into confidence.
Previously, a few days after Pakistan backed terrorists attacked the security forces in India and Iran, a suicide bomber killed at least 9 people and injured 11 in Quetta, Balochistan. On February 17, the attack took place on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route between Panjgur and Turbat city. An organization named Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar (BRAS) has taken the responsibility of the attack. BRAS is an alliance of three organizations (Baloch Liberation Army, Balochistan Liberation Front and Baloch Republican Guard) fighting for the freedom of Balochistan.
The Baloch nationalists have waged a war against Pakistan’s colonization. Balochistan has been fighting for its freedom as the state of Pakistan has continued to perpetrate grave human rights violations and exploited the natural resources of the province and its coastline. China is developing an economic corridor with investment worth 46 billion dollars but the local citizens have very little stake in the project. Every political party blames the other for the lack of development in the state but none of them appear to be ready to give Balochistan its due share.
The province is rich with natural resources like gold, copper, silver, oil, and gas. The province covers 44 percent of Pakistan’s land area but accounts for only 5 percent of its population. The Gwadar port being developed to promote trade and investment is poised to only benefit business elites based in Karachi and political elites based in Islamabad. The Rawalpindi based Pakistan Army also has stakes in the province while top military officers exploit its natural resources for monetary benefits.
Economic inequality coupled with natural calamities and excessive violence by the Pakistani state and Army will further alienate the Baluchi people. Baloch nationalism will be fuelled as the atrocities by the state only intensify in Balochistan. A blast like this is suggestive of the fact that the the people of Balochistan have decided to get rid of Pakistani brutalities. The human rights violation on the part of the Pakistani state may well push the state of Balochistan towards an armed rebellion.