Opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC is growing inside Pakistan, in Baluchistan, Sindh and the North-West Frontier Province

Separatist groups fighting the Pakistan government have united, sources said. In Baluchistan, all the groups have united under the banner of the BRAS or the Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar. This includes the Baloch Liberation Army or the BLA.

The BRAS and the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army or SRA have joined hands. Meanwhile, in the NWFP, now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Tehreeke Taliban or the TTP have joined hands with the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar or JUA and the Hizb-ul-Ahrar. This has not only led to stronger protests against the CPEC in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but also in Karachi, where the JUA, which has ISIS links, is well entrenched.

As a result, the violence levels have gone up. In the third quarter of 2020, 132 people were killed, 76 of them in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 23 in Baluchistan and 19 in Sindh.

The Pakistan security forces have suffered heavy losses. The Pakistan army has lost 26 soldiers, including 7 from the Frontier Corps. Sixteen policemen, including a Ranger, have also died.

Caught in the middle, the minorities in Pakistan have suffered. In the three months, four Shias, two Hindus and one member of the Ahmadiya, Ismaili and Christian communities have been killed. 

Nor is this a recent spike. In the previous quarter, there were 139 fatalities, including 83 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 26 in Sindh and 21 in Baluchistan. The North Waziristan area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the most affected: if there were 34 fatalities in the third quarter, there were 47 in the second quarter. Karachi has remained troubled, with 18 fatalities in the second quarter and 17 in the third.

The security forces had lost 44 personnel in the second quarter.

This has put a lot of pressure on the Army. Currently, five divisions, 19 brigades, 13 artillery and 19 armoured regiments of the Pakistan army are partly involved in internal security duties. This is apart from the 34 and 44 light infantry divisions, newly raised for safeguarding the CPEC.

There are reports of five Baloch Revolutionary Army, four Baloch Liberation Front and four Tehrike Taliban casualties.