Bad news continues to come in from Balochistan. Since April, the province has been witnessing a spate of terror attacks. The day before yesterday, at least four police personnel were martyred and 12 others, including some policemen, were wounded in a blast in Satellite Town locality of Quetta. The blast occurred soon after a police van arrived outside a mosque to provide security to people offering Traveeh prayers at the mosque. A police officer said unidentified terrorists had parked a motorcycle, to which was rigged an improvised explosive device, close to the police van. The terrorists detonated the explosive device by remote control when the van arrived there. And yesterday, gunmen killed three labourers and wounded another in Naseerabad district of Balochistan. All three died on the spot. In October last year, unidentified motorcyclists shot dead five labourers in Gunz area of Gwadar district.
Three major terrorist attacks have taken place in the province within the space of four days. On May 11, three terrorists attacked a luxury hotel in Gwadar, killing four hotel employees and one navy personnel. All attackers were killed by security forces in an operation that lasted 12 hours. On April 12, terrorist killed 20 people, mostly Shia Hazaras, in Hazarganji area of Quetta. On April 18, terrorists offloaded 14 passengers from a bus and shot them dead in Ormara. Most of those killed were navy personnel.
All these terrorist incidents point in one direction. Terrorists of various hues are aiming to sabotage the Gwadar port, the flagship project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a significant part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Certain groups have claimed responsibility for some of these attacks. The government should deal with these groups with an iron hand, but simultaneously it should also try to address the underlying causes and resolve the issue under a two-pronged strategy. Peace is essential for the success of CPEC.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2019.