Balochistan was important to the Russians and the British from the point of view of both trade and security, as it is situated on the crossroads of the routes linking Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. Balochistan the largest province of Pakistan is entangled with two different fault lines, one is ethnonationalism and the other is on the basis of religion. From the south coast of Makran to Quetta in the north, there has been outrageous conflict among the local nationals and jihadi organizations. Furthermore, the matter of Balochistan has remained an Achilles heel for Pakistan’s statecraft, culminating in five separate insurgencies in the past. Moreover, Sectarianism was at its peak from decades in Balochistan. Most victims were Shiites ‘Hazara’ community and the inter-religious rivalry gained more strength when the government was unable to contain those attacks.
On Monday 9th October, 2017, unknown gunmen killed three Shiites in the Balochistan province. The attack has been reported to authorities as an attack on minorities. The unknown gunmen were using motorbikes while they shot at the vehicle which was carrying Shiites. Although the provisional government is providing the security to the minorities. The heinous incident took place when the vehicle left Quetta. A senior police officer Abdul Razzaq Cheema said, ‘the local police escort the Shia vegetable sellers daily… one of the vehicles today fell victim to sniper fire after it got separated from the rest of the escort. The total sum of casualties is five, three are the Shiites, and a driver and a man who were passing by the car’.
There was no claim yet taken by any of the organisation but looking at the past, various Taliban organisations targeted the Shiites many times. They proclaimed that this sect is not Muslim and to kill them is legitimate. It is pertinent to mention that the total sum of Shiite sect in Pakistan is 20 percent of the whole population of Pakistan.
Analysing the event mentioned above, it rings alarming bells for the people sitting in the echelon of the state. The tactics of non-traditional warfare, guerrilla warfare has been witnessed in the past three months. This is a component of fourth generation warfare, ‘Creative Chaos Theory’, which has been replicated in Balochistan for many decades. Those who want to destabilize the country, their sublime purpose is very clear and it is halting the progress of CPEC.
Connecting the dots, and analysing the situation from the international perspective. It is the time when the US actually objected the passing of CPEC through the disputed territory. Secretary Mattis was the one who triggered the debate. Whereas the claim has been countered by National Security Advisor (retd) General Janjua. He said. ‘the issue of Kashmir is again highlighted while opposing CPEC and favouring India by the US. Pakistan and China had already been connected via Karakoram Highway land route since 1960 but why it is being opposed now?’.
Overall Balochistan will play its role towards consolidation of the country, disappointing those who are out to create a wedge between the centre and the province. CPEC will be a gamechanger not only for Pakistan but also in safeguarding the rights of the people of Balochistan and Pakistan.