by Brig Arun Bajpai

Two Jihadists attacks in Pakistan on Friday 23 November, within few hours, should at least now wake up China that if it continued its unmitigated support to Pakistan on its cross border jihadist activities then its own CPEC will be in trouble. Having committed to spend 47 billion dollars in Pakistan in CPEC, can China afford to continue helping Pakistan in world forums like UN to shield Pakistani army and its ISI of using its sponsored jihadists against India and Afghanistan with impunity?

First jihadist attack was launched in Pakistan on 23 November 2018, in Aurakzai Tribal Area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province by a remote operated bomb, placed in a motorcycle, with main target being Shia Muslims of Pakistan, a minority. 32 people were killed including three children and 40 wounded. OK this can be set aside for a time being because these types of attacks on minority Shias in Pakistan by Sunni majority Jihadist terror organisations, keep on happening as a routine. This will not please the Shia majority Iran, the next-door neighbour of Pakistan. However, what should shock both Pakistan and China are the jihadist attack in Karachi town of Pakistan a few hours later, that also in posh Clifton Area of Pakistan, launched by Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA), a Jihadist organisation against China building CPEC in 3000 km length of Baluchistan. This attack was aimed directly at the Chinese Consulate by the Baluchistan Liberation Army, who have taken its responsibility. The three jihadists involved killed two policemen and two civilians, before they themselves were shot dead. The objective of this attack, as stated by Shahid Mehmood Qureshi the foreign minister of Pakistan was, to scare the Chinese who are coming to Pakistan for investment and construction of CPEC, mostly in Baluchistan.

This attack happened just three weeks after Pakistani PM Imran Khan had visited China, assuring China that Pakistan will do utmost to the security and welfare of Chinese workers involved in this construction of CPEC in Baluchistan. Condemning this Jihadist attack, Pakistani Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has made a statement that both China and Pakistan together will defeat these nefarious activities of Jihadists. Does he mean that now China also will place its troops on Pakistani soil in Baluchistan, to protect its persons working for CPEC? If this happens, it will be like showing red flag to BLA and other Baloch terror groups wanting independence from Pakistan. This road and rail network being laid in Baluchistan under CPEC, for 3000 km by China, is too long to protect when Baloch population is against this. Earlier the BLA spokesperson Jihand Baloch had said that we see Chinese as oppressors along with Pakistani Army. he said that they have now created a separate Fidayeen group, a Majeed Brigade to carry out suicide raids against Pakistani Army and Chinese targets. He said objective of our attacks are clear, we will not tolerate Chinese military expansionist endeavours. This is an ominous development for china. There is no protection from suicide attacks any where in the world. So, when Chinese will start dying their enthusiasm to build CPEC will start diminishing. Pakistan has used such ham-handed methods in dealing with Baloch and has committed such atrocities there that now they will not be able to retain Baluchistan for long.

Here in lies the opportunity for India. Pakistan is crying hoarse that India is helping Baluchistan in ceding from Pakistan. Jury is still out whether it is just Pakistani propaganda or India is actually doing it. If India is not doing it then it must start helping Baluchistan in the same way as Pakistan is interfering in Kashmir. This is the only language Pakistan understands. Of course, India must always be in denial mode like Pakistan on Kashmir. It is also being said in Pakistan that America is also against CPEC and is quietly scuttling this project. if it is true then India and America should join hands in scuttling CPEC and enabling resource rich, mineral rich Baluchistan to cede from Pakistan.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same