The Baloch Gambit: Pakistan will get scorched in Balochistan fire

Quetta (Pakistan): 

When the Taliban took over the Afghan capital Kabul, in August last year, many in Islamabad cheered. The Pakistan military establishment and the general population of the country had celebrated when the Taliban overthrew the elected Afghan government to capture Kabul and re-establish its rule over Afghanistan.

However, Pakistan’s mistaken impression that it had managed to win the proxy war against India in Afghanistan has been proven to be false as the intensity of attacks from Afghan territory across the Durand Line has increased considerably since the Taliban re-captured Kabul.

The Baloch groups fighting to separate Balochistan from Pakistan have also intensified their campaign against the armed forces of Pakistan. There have been multiple attacks on the security forces of Pakistan every week since the Taliban reclaimed power in Afghanistan.

There have been two attacks on Pakistani security forces in Balochistan in the last week. Earlier in January also there was an attack. The case of protests and such attacks is not new there, but this time it is different. 

The recent attacks are different in that they are happening on a much larger scale. After almost a decade, such a big attack has taken place in Balochistan. 

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks. It has remained a major force there since the year 2000. Pakistan has termed it as a terrorist organization.

Problems in Balochistan have been there for a long time. The citizens there repeatedly raise the question that Balochistan is the richest area in terms of natural resources in Pakistan, but the most neglected. It is behind in employment, behind in education. Due to this, there has been discontent against the government for several decades and there have been protests.

The BLA has clarified that they killed more than a hundred soldiers in the latest attacks. Although the Pakistan Army has given the death toll less. As always, Pakistan is again saying that these terrorists have links with India and Afghanistan, that is why they are coming again and again. But the situation is indicating that this problem is increasing in Pakistan. 

Earlier, Baloch militants used to carry out targeted killings and used to do execute bombardments. But now all this is happening on a large scale. Suicide bombing is happening and military camps are being attacked.

BLA has always been raising the issue of separating Balochistan from Pakistan. His complaint has been that Pakistan is exploiting Balochistan. misusing its resources. The local people are not getting any strength and neither is the local capacity being built. 

The people of Balochistan say that the things obtained from there are given to other states, especially Punjab. The government does not even make any effort to deal with the Baluchi discontent.

In November 2021, mass protests started in Gwadar, Balochistan, the name was ‘Gwadar Ko Haq Do Movement’. In this a large number of people came on the streets of Gwadar and raised slogans against Pakistan.

Their demands were that everyone should have access to resources, better arrangements for employment and education. Their livelihood is threatened by the local mafia there, they should be removed. These demonstrations went on for a month. Then the local government of Balochistan agreed to accept some of their demands.

CPEC under threat in Balochistan

But even after all this, there was no change in the attitude of the government of Pakistan. At that time this thing became big because the demonstrations took place in Gwadar and Gwadar Port is the central port of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 

Pakistan does not want that where China is involved, there should be any kind of trouble. But the biggest problem is coming in this corridor. In Balochistan from where this corridor originates, there is resentment against China. Local people say that the people of China do not help the local people. They are coming here and killing the fish, exploiting the natural resources. Corruption has increased and it is being managed by retired officers of the Pakistan Army. Whatever is happening in the area, only China is getting the benefit of it because Chinese laborers bring them from here.

The Pakistan government is repeatedly saying that the model of development coming from China will benefit Balochistan. But the kind of protests that took place in November, it is clear that the local people in Gwadar are not getting any benefit from it. 

After the protest in November, Imran Khan had said that it was a simple demonstration. He had said casually that Pakistan does not want to annoy China. In such a situation, the problem of Balochistan remained there and now the Balochistan Liberation Army is feeling that this is a good opportunity to attack with more force. He should show Pakistan that the kind of situations that exist, they can be used more against the Pakistan Army. But one of the consequences of this would be that it could put Pakistan’s military in a more suppressed mode because it is necessary for them to control them.

The timing of these attacks should also be seen. These attacks took place when Imran Khan was to attend the Beijing Olympics celebrations. This sent a message to both China and Pakistan that you can have a lot of things for Balochistan but there is a lot of danger in its operation, it is not going to calm down so easily. In such a situation, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor has come to a halt in a way. China has also come on the defensive about this. Many of his companies have left from there. He has refused to work.

It is necessary for India to raise this issue at the international level and India has started doing so. In January, India made a statement that Pakistan should stop human rights violations in Balochistan and resolve their issues. The condition of Balochistan is giving India an opportunity to explain to the international community how Pakistan is unable to handle its own people, targets and kills minorities and political activists.


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