The Baloch freedom fighters detonated a suicide explosion on Friday adjacent to a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province. The strike took place in the Baloch Ward area of Gwadar, targeting Chinese engineers near the construction site of a road that is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). According to the Balochistan Post, nine Chinese nationals were killed in the blast.
Balochistan Liberation Army, the freedom-fighter organisation, claimed responsibility for the attack and remarked, “BLA carried out a ‘self-sacrificing’ attack against a convoy of Chinese engineers,”
A large number of Chinese experts and workers are employed in Gwadar and the surrounding areas to complete various projects under the CPEC, thus they have become walking targets for the Baloch freedom fighters to target and to send their message across.
According to The Print report, at least 13 people, including nine Chinese, were also killed in a similar attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last month. The bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the site of the under-construction Dasu Dam exploded on July 14. The bus fell into a deep ravine after the explosion in the Upper Kohistan district.
Ever since Pakistan sold Balochistan to China and the paper dragon put in multi-billion-dollar investments in the region, especially in the Gwadar port, the native Balochs have been baying for the blood of Pakistanis and Chinese alike.
After Pakistan, 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 died in the attack. Last year, a five-star hotel in Gwadar was struck by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), killing 5 people. The group said that the hotel, the centrepiece of a multi-billion-dollar Chinese project, was decided to target Chinese and other investors. The frequency of attacks on Chinese interests since the recent past has been witnessing an upward trajectory.
As reported by TFI last year, the Karachi Stock Exchange was attacked by four-armed Baloch freedom fighters, who hurled grenades at the entrance and entered the premises. The fighters were armed with grenades and automatic rifles. They were also in possession of tremendous ammunition and essential supplies, suggesting that they planned a long-drawn siege over the complex.
The Balochis are in no mood to accept China’s subtle invasion of their land using large scale, self-serving investments in the region. Balochistan is an extremely resourceful and mineral and gas-rich region, and China wants to exploit the same for its interests. Both CPEC and BRI are projects held in contempt by the Balochi freedom fighters. If Beijing still doesn’t receive the message and continues its illegal occupation of the native land of the Balochs, the attacks and their frequency will only increase in the future.