Report Wire - Balochistan bombing: What’s behind the raging insurgency in Pakistan

Report Wire

News at Another Perspective

Balochistan bombing: What’s behind the raging insurgency in Pakistan

6 min read
India Today World Desk

By India Today World Desk: Recent suicide bombings have been linked to Baloch pushback in opposition to the China-Pakistan hall but additionally highlight the bigger battle for Balochistan’s freedom.

At least 9 police officers had been killed in a suicide bombing that struck Pakistan’s insurgency-hit Balochistan province on Monday. The explosion occurred after a suicide bomber rammed his bike right into a police truck in Sibi, a metropolis some 160 km (100 miles) east of Balochistan’s capital Quetta.

No group had instantly claimed accountability for Monday’s assault however ethnic Baloch guerrillas have been combating the federal government for many years, accusing it of exploiting Balochistan’s wealthy gasoline and mineral assets.

In April final yr, a burqa-clad Baloch girl suicide bomber killed 4 individuals, together with three Chinese nationals (tutors), in an assault on a minibus carrying employees from China-built Confucius Institute at Karachi University.

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) had claimed accountability for the assault, the primary main one which yr in opposition to nationals of all-weather ally China working in Pakistan. BLA, banned in Pakistan for “terror activities”, stated it was their first suicide assault by a lady assailant.

ALSO READ | Suicide bomber rams bike into police truck in Pakistan’s Balochistan, 9 cops killed

While the Karachi suicide bombing was a part of an intensifying Baloch pushback in opposition to the $54 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it additionally spotlighted the bigger and deeper battle for Balochistan’s freedom.


Let’s first perceive Balochistan. Rich in pure assets, it’s Pakistan’s largest but additionally the poorest province, with Quetta as its capital. On March 27, 1948 (noticed as Black Day by Baloch individuals), a new child Pakistan annexed the Baloch state, marking the start of a long-running insurgency.

Over the years, hundreds of individuals have gone lacking in Balochistan, coinciding with a military-led brutal crackdown, typically drawing worldwide condemnation. Hundreds of our bodies of political activists and suspected armed separatists have been discovered within the restive province, international media has reported, pointing to extrajudicial killings by Pakistani safety businesses.

The insurgency is fuelled by the exploitation of assets and oppression of individuals, however Pakistan, in denial, blames it on India and Iran, a cost each nations have vehemently rejected.

BLA is probably the most outstanding group combating for Balochistan’s independence. Shari Baloch, the 30-year-old suicide bomber in Tuesday’s assault, had joined the “special self-sacrifice squad” of BLA’s Majeed Brigade two years in the past.

A senior chief of the Balochistan freedom motion, Professor Naela Quadri Baloch, who’s in exile in Canada, has stated {that a} Government of Balochistan in Exile (GBE) has been established. On the opposite hand, it is China that’s emerged as a vital participant in Balochistan.


China had lengthy been excited by Balochistan’s copper, gold, gasoline and coal deposits. In 2015, China introduced CPEC, an infrastructure community linking a port in Balochistan’s Gwadar to China’s western Xinjiang area. Both the areas — Xinjiang in China and Balochistan in Pakistan — are restive and have seen army crackdowns by their nationwide governments.

ALSO READ | Pak-China friendship exploiting pure assets in Balochistan: Dossier

Part of China’s international growth technique Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CPEC consists of plans to construct street, rail and oil pipeline hyperlinks as Beijing appears to be like to broaden its clout over Central and South Asia and counter American and Indian affect.

Thousands of Chinese personnel are working in Pakistan on CPEC initiatives, lots of them being inbuilt Balochistan the place separatists say Islamabad is exploiting native assets to assist Beijing broaden its clout. CPEC has additionally drawn India’s objection.


India has repeatedly objected to CPEC passing via Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and requested each Pakistan and China to not alter the established order in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan. India has stated Jammu & Kashmir in addition to Ladakh have been, are and can all the time stay integral and inalienable elements of India.

Be that as it could, BLA and different separatists from Balochistan have repeatedly attacked Chinese targets.


In February 2022, Baloch separatists focused two Balochistan areas in 4 days and killed 10 troopers. Twenty militants had been additionally killed.

ALSO READ | Karachi bombing: Why there’s enormous Baloch pushback in opposition to China-Pak hall

In July 2021, a bus carrying engineers in northwestern Pakistan was bombed. Thirteen individuals together with 9 Chinese employees died. Under strain, Pakistan paid hundreds of thousands in compensation to the households of the Chinese employees killed. China despatched its workforce to probe the assault.

In April 2021, a suicide bomb assault at a luxurious lodge internet hosting the Chinese ambassador in Quetta killed 4 and wounded dozens. The ambassador was unharmed.

Earlier in 2020, Baloch separatists attacked Pakistan’s Stock Exchange the place the Chinese have main investments. This adopted an assault on the Chinese consulate in Karachi in 2018.


But why is there this large pushback in opposition to the Chinese? Baloch separatists have been offended at mining and vitality initiatives within the area. They say there are not any advantages for them as most new jobs have gone to outsiders whereas locals, already battling crushing poverty, are being pushed off their land.

BLA has stated that it had warned China a number of occasions to “refrain from looting Baloch resources. However, China continues to be involved in its expansionist designs in Balochistan.”

“Targeting the director and officials of the Confucius Institute, the symbol of Chinese economic, cultural and political expansionism, was to give a clear message to China that its direct or indirect presence in Balochistan will not be tolerated,” BLA had stated.

The Confucius Institutes are a big Chinese push for smooth energy throughout international locations however have typically been branded as China’s propaganda mission, additionally round how Pakistan treats Balochistan.


The large Baloch pushback in opposition to the CPEC is a part of the bigger battle for Balochistan’s freedom, BLA has stated.

BLA has stated that it had warned China a number of occasions to “refrain from aiding Pakistan militarily and financially in carrying out Baloch genocide, but to no avail.”

BLA has stated Shari was a member of the Baloch Students’ Organisation and was conscious of Baloch genocide and occupation of Balochistan.

ALSO READ | Baloch, Sindhi pro-freedom teams unite to oppose China-Pakistan CPEC undertaking


After final yr’s assault, Pakistani authorities scrambled to appease China. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif mourned the dying of “Chinese friends”, “strongly condemned the heinous and cowardly act of terrorism” and promised motion in opposition to “the perpetrators.”

Pakistan’s international ministry referred to as the suicide blast “a direct attack on Pakistan-China friendship”. China stated the blood of the Chinese can’t be shed in useless, demanded extreme punishment for the attackers and requested Pakistan to do the whole lot potential to make sure the protection of Chinese residents, establishments and initiatives in Pakistan.

On the opposite hand, BLA threatened greater assaults on Chinese nationals and China’s pursuits in Balochistan and elsewhere in Pakistan.

BLA requested China to instantly halt its “exploitation projects” and chorus from aiding “the occupying Pakistani state” as “hundreds of highly trained BLA members are ready to carry out deadly attacks.” BLA additionally requested Pakistan to withdraw from Balochistan, “recognising its independence”.

Given the confrontational posturing of Pakistan, China and BLA, the approaching days may even see extra blood in Balochistan and past. Pakistan can not regard the Baloch insurgency as a low-intensity battle.

Published On:

Mar 6, 2023