The Karachi Stock Exchange was attacked on Monday by four-armed Baloch freedom fighters, who are believed to have hurled grenades at the entrance and entered the premises. As per the latest inputs, the four gunmen have been gunned down by Karachi’s special forces, only after they killed three Pakistani civilians, however. The fighters were armed with grenades and automatic rifles, local police said. They launched the attack by opening fire at the entrance gate of the Karachi Stock Exchange in the southern port city, Pakistan’s financial centre.
The fighters were also in possession of tremendous ammunition and essential supplies, suggesting that they planned a long-drawn siege over the complex. The fighters were dressed completely as militia, with full-body armour and camouflage vests. Two guards and one policeman were killed during the attack on Pakistan’s oldest and largest Stock Exchange. In all, seven people were killed during the attack, including the four militants.
There were no reports of any of the Exchange’s staff being wounded and killed, and trading was not halted during the attack. The police chief in Pakistan’s biggest city and financial hub, Ghulam Nabi Memon, told Reuters the gunmen attacked with grenades and guns after pulling up in a silver Corolla car at the entrance, where they abandoned it.
Soon after, the Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack. The BLA described it as a “self-sacrificing” attack carried out by its ‘Majeed brigade’. While all attacks on civilian populations are reprehensible and must be unequivocally condemned, today’s attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange does not even come a mile’s range close to the terror which is inflicted upon the Baloch civilian population regularly by Pakistan’s monstrous and inhuman army. The Baloch freedom struggle has been going on for over 70 years now, and Balochis are unwilling to accept Pakistan’s illegal occupation over their land. The Pakistan Army has been violating the human rights of the people of Balochistan day in and day out. Women are raped, villages are destroyed, and scores of people are thrown from helicopters down to the ground. Balochis are abducted by Pakistani forces and agencies and are never found again.
What’s worse, is that Pakistan has sold Balochistan to China, and the dragon has put in multi-billion-dollar investments in the region, especially in the Gwadar port. For the same reason, China is the second most hated enemy of the people of Balochistan, and in recent years, attacks on Chinese nationals, including the Chinese consulate, have increased. On November 23, 2018, three heavily armed fighters from the Baloch Liberation Army targeted the Chinese consulate in Karachi. Two police officers and two visa applicants were killed. Only last month, a five-star hotel in Gwadar was attacked by the BLA, in which five lives were lost. The group said that the hotel, the centrepiece of a multi-billion-dollar Chinese project, was selected in order to target Chinese and other investors. The frequency of attacks on Chinese interests have in the recent past, been witnessing an upward trajectory.
The Balochis are in no mood to accept China’s subtle invasion of their land by means of large scale, self-serving investments in the region. Balochistan is an extremely resourceful and mineral and gas-rich region, and China is looking at exploiting the same for its own interests. Both CPEC and BRI are projects held in contempt by the Balochi freedom fighters. That China seems to have no problem with the actions of the Pakistan Army in a territory that the jihadi nation illegally occupied in 1948 goes on to show just how much China cares about upholding human rights. 1.5 million Uyghur Muslims, meanwhile, are said to be languishing in China’s Xinjiang province only for their religious identity.
Imran Khan passionately attacking Pakistan's atrocities on the Baloch people. This was when he wasn't a PM. Today he is complicit in the oppression and exploitation of Balochistan not just at the hands of the Pak Army but China as well. #Gwadar #CPECpic.twitter.com/0w83woxPBK
— Shubhangi Tiwari (@shubh19822) June 29, 2020
China is looking at gaining maritime superiority in the Indian Ocean Region using the Gwadar Port. The port will also serve as China’s gateway to the Middle East, South and Central Asia. For Pakistan, Balochistan acts as a buffer state with Iran, and also as a playground for the Pakistan Army.
Attacks on civilians by any group must be condemned. However, is the world paying as much attention to the atrocities inflicted upon Balochis, as it did in the case of today’s attack in Karachi?