In the last month of December of last year, in the province of Balochistan in southwest Pakistan, the Pakistani army lost seven soldiers in a fierce attack. These Pakistani army personnel were engaged in the protection of projects to be invested in Balochistan within the framework of the Chinese CPEC. After this attack, once again China’s billion-dollar investment in the Gwadar port and free trade zone in Balochistan went into crisis. On the other hand, the Pakistani army is still unable to find a break with the Baloch rebels.
According to the Asia Times report, the province of Balochistan is the largest in terms of total land area and the Baluchians constitute 9% of the total population of Pakistan. The Baluch rebels have been active in Balochistan for several decades. They were divided among themselves and competed with the Pashtuns. Not only that, the Baloch also fought with the Punjabis who occupy the politics and power of Pakistan.
The rebels in Balochistan were gradually weakening, while in recent times the Pakistani authorities have taken a number of such powerful measures to appease China, leading to a new wave of violence. The violence has shaken China’s confidence in the CPEC. Tariq Parvez, a former policeman and coordinator of the National Anti-Terrorism Authority, recently said attacks by the Baloch rebels have declined significantly.
Tariq said incidents of violence had declined due to the tightening of security forces and the killing of rebels, but he had to pay a heavy price. This shows the opposition of the local Baloch people. The Baluch rebels are now meeting and adopting new tactics. These rebels also targeted the Chinese people. The Baluchis have not carried out suicide attacks before, but they are also in the process of carrying out them. Not only that, the Baluchis are also holding people hostage.
This change in strategy by the Baluch rebels was clearly visible during the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi in 2018 and the Pearl Hotel in Gwadar in 2019. This hotel is built by China and Chinese citizens often stay there. Not only that, the rebels also threatened the China-run Karachi Stock Exchange. China is believed to have financial, commercial and economic interests in the target of the Baloch rebels. The Baluch rebels are using their hiding place in Afghanistan to attack Chinese interests in Balochistan.