Karachi University Suicide Attack: The Impetus And Change In BLA’s Strategy

Incontrovertibly Pakistan has been the country that bore the extreme brunt of extremism. Due to its significant geostrategic location, it has been the epicentre of the US war against terrorism in Afghanistan making it more vulnerable to violence spilling over from the neighbouring war-raged country.

Apart from the Afghanistan factor, Pakistan remained the earmark of terror attacks for hosting Chinese nationals working on a multi-billion-dollar Chinese-funded venture China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key prong of the Chinese flagship One Belt One Road (OBOR) project.

Unfortunately, the Pak-China partnership has been an eyestone for India which has constantly been trying to disrupt the economic corporation between all-weather friends by turning CPEC into a futile project through its malevolent collusions.

For this purpose, India used its influence among Baloch separatists through illicit funding and by igniting anti-state sentiments among the locals in Balochistan empoisoning them with a noxious and fictional story of Chinese colonization and squeezing of their resources under the garb of development, which is indeed not the case.

The recent chain of terror events targeting Chinese nationals inside Pakistan is a clear indication that India desperately wants Pak-China proximity to break apart and Pakistan’s economy to collapse. Karachi suicide attack near a Chinese language learning centre is just another illustration of the enemy’s vexing and malicious intent to sabotage the CPEC and China-Pakistan amity.

On April 26, a female affiliate of BLA, Shari Baloch blew herself up near a van carrying Chinese teachers of the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute killing three Chinese tutors and their Pakistani driver. Immediately after the attack, BLA claimed the responsibility by saying that “the Confucius Institute was targeted because it is a symbol of Chinese economic, cultural and political expansionism.”

Many members of BLA and other separatist organizations always justified their terrorist acts by accusing security forces of the country for enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, but astonishingly, the women used to carry out this suicidal mission, Shari Baloch doesn’t have anyone in her family who was disappeared or killed extrajudicially by the security forces, neither was she or her family deprived of resources, in fact, she belonged to a well-off family and had no previous criminal record.

Many members of her family are in decent and well-reputed positions, she herself was an MPhil and a teacher, her father was a director retired from a government organization and her husband is a dentist.

So, the question ascends what sort of motivation allowed her to take such an extreme step and blow herself up, definitely, she didn’t commit this as a result of a religious impetus. Many believe that she was either blackmailed by the terrorist organization BLA or she was under the influence of some kind of mental suppository.

The BLA has claimed that she had volunteered as a suicide bomber two years ago and joined Majeed Brigade, an offshoot of BLA that has been involved in various terrorist attacks aimed at Chinese nationals in Balochistan working on CPEC related projects.

Surprisingly, BLA and India share the same enragement as far as Pak-China collaboration is concerned. Both promulgate the imaginary anecdote presenting China as a modern-day East-India company that is on a mission to engulf the resources of Pakistan by tricking it into a debt trap.

Furthermore, subsequently, after the Karachi University suicide attack, the way Indian media proliferated the propaganda and glorified the Balochistan Liberation Army was very much equivalent to the official statement of BLA claiming the responsibility for the attack and castigating Chinese existence in the province. Indian media seems like a mouthpiece of the banned terrorist outfit that clearly demonstrates the BLA’s Indian connections.

The CPEC project is being seen as a lifeline for Pakistan’s volatile economy in the coming years by providing enhanced infrastructure and thousands of jobs for locals in return for lending China access to landlocked Central Asian Republics, Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Perhaps this is the reason that is exasperating the common enemies of Pakistan and China and captivating them to go to any extent to ruin the CPEC and its earnest paybacks for both the countries.

There are countless proofs of Indian involvement in Balochistan and its bonhomie with Baloch insurgent leaders and their incessant connections are no longer a secret. One of the leading Indian newspapers “The Hindu” in 2019 confirmed that many Baloch separatist leaders including Mama Qadeer and Aslam Baloch had visited India many times and met with representatives of the Indian establishment backing the rebellion in the Balochistan.

Moreover, some reports also suggest that another prominent Baloch separatist leader Brahamdagh Bugti had very close links with the Research and Analysis Wing of the Indian Army (RAW), and he had several meetings with RAW officials in Geneva at multiple locations. Bugti had applied for asylum in India. Indian Prime Minister Modi has also accepted the involvement of his country in Balochistan to destabilize Pakistan which is itself an undeniable proof of India using terrorism to supplement its expansionist goals.

Kulbhushan Jadhav an Indian Naval officer and RAW’s spy captured by Pakistani security agencies back in 2016 from Mashkel Balochistan had also revealed that he was assigned with a mission by Indian intelligence to provide Baloch separatists with financial and ordnance support against the state.

By targeting Chinese nationals in Pakistan, India basically desires to kill two birds with one stone. It wants to damage the Pak-China friendship by hurting CPEC projects and at the same time fueling separatist groups and terrorist organizations in Balochistan to weaken the Pakistani State.

Now, with the Indian backing, BLA has changed its strategy, it has started using more lethal ways against the state, for instance using women suicide bombers undoubtedly posed a great challenge for the security institutions of Pakistan. They certainly need to be more vigilant against evolving threats and must increase scrutiny inside educational institutions, especially among those circles involved in ethnic-based groupings and conflict-ridden philosophies.

Secondly, the Indian connection to BLA must be investigated meticulously, proofs be shared with India and other prominent countries at the highest diplomatic levels. The international community must also intercede and pressurize India to refrain from patronizing an armed group that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union.