Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Pakistani Army is using jihadist assets to target separatist groups in Balochistan who have been opposing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for exploiting the province’s resources and denying locals any share.
However, the recent killing of three Chinese workers in the Karachi minibus attack is not coincidental and is a part of the Balochistan Liberation Army’s (BLA) wider aim of fighting a war of independence for the province.
Three Chinese nationals and a Pakistani van driver lost their lives in a car explosion carried by a 31-year old female suicide bomber associated with the BLA inside the premises of the Karachi University of Pakistan on April 26.
In an article published on UK-based media, Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, Pakistan-based correspondent for The Diplomat, wrote that China is calling the shots when it comes to the corridor, and it has also colluded with the Pakistani army to exploit the resources of Balochistan.
The Chinese language centre, which was targeted by BLA, was a ‘symbol of Chinese economic, cultural and political expansionism’.
The BLA has been resisting the Chinese linkages with Pakistan, and the Karachi minibus attack is not new. Earlier, the BLA also targeted and killed Chinese workers employed in the mining and shipping industries in Balochistan.
The rift between the BLA and the Pakistani army is another bone of contention. The BLA launched its deadliest spate of attacks in Balochistan’s Panjgur and Noshki districts this February, intending to coincide with the then prime minister Imran Khan’s trip to China.
The BLA claimed to have killed 100 Pakistani soldiers in the February attacks, even though the Pakistan army maintained that only ten of its men had died, with 20 BLA members killed in the military operation, as per the UK-based media outlet.
The situation is inflamed by China’s treatment of its own Muslim citizens in the Xinjiang region in China. Many Islamists have been motivated by the persecution of Uyghur Muslims to open another front against Beijing, with jihadist groups like the Pakistani Taliban also targeting China. (ANI)