The Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) of Balochistan received 96 threat alerts related to terrorism in March. Forty of these were regarding Quetta which is the capital of the province. 753 illegal immigrants and other suspects were locked up as suspects. That aside, two Chinese teachers were abducted from Quetta. The responsibility was claimed by the most vocal global terrorist group Islamic State. They later confessed to having killed those teachers. The Chinese government was furious over this affair and displayed grave concern.

Every action has an equal reaction. The Pakistani army launched Intelligence-based Operations (IBOs) in various areas of Balochistan. The operation Rad-ul-Fassad has already acquired major goals and accomplishments. It was carried out in Mastung against IS leaders who were working with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and was a large-scale operation. This operation was much bigger than the operation which took place against Malik Ishaq who was killed in 2015. In fact, it was the biggest operation against the military outfit. Dozens of IS commanders were killed and many were captured. Considering that they have been found, killed, and captured in Balochistan, is it safe to say that the IS is only a marginal threat?

A fair analysis would prove that local militancy in alliance with the Islamic State could be an immense threat to Balochistan and to the CPEC. If this nexus resurrects itself, it could have irreversible effects on the land of Balochistan and on the development of CPEC. The roots of this nexus are unholy and these outfits are working on the payroll of anti-state elements. These militants make a pact with local adversaries such as Allah Nazar Baloch, leader of the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) who threatened Chinese companies and workers, and cooperate in operations against Pakistan.

The situation in Balochistan is very stable these days with the efficacy of Balochistan government and Pakistan Army. Pakistan Army has dedicated a division named the Special Security Division (SSD) solely for CPEC projects and the safety of Chinese people. The SSD consists of nine army battalions and six civil armed forces wings. It has performed very well so far, hence non-state actors focus is moving towards the second approach which is of soft targets; the common people instead of high-level assets. 3 Hazaras were targeted in a van four days ago and the attempt failed due to the effectiveness of LEAs. Terrorism, it is said, is a phenomenon you can’t end but contain. With the LEAs now charting robust strategies in anticipation of the corridor which is expected to be functional in 2018, it is hoped that they will be able to contain terrorism since more Chinese and foreigners will come to Pakistan, and the state must ensure their security which ultimately means clearing the land of these banned militant outfits in the near future.

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