Why is the Baloch Liberation Army targeting Chinese nationals
New Delhi, Apr 27: Four people including three Chinese nationals were killed in a suicide attack that took place inside the premises of the Karachi University on Tuesday.
The attack was claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which is one of the most prominent militant groups operating against Pakistan. The BLA which operates mainly from Balochistan has been battling for liberation of the province.
Balochistan which is the smallest in terms of population is however the larger province in terms of territory.
Over the years the BLA has targeted the Pakistan security forces, but in recent years, it has taken aim at Chinese interests as well.
CCTV footage showed a burqa clad woman standing at the entrance of the Karachi University's Confucius Institute as a white van approached the gate. The blast took place just as the van was about to enter the building.
Dawn News reported that the woman detonated herself just as the van entered the building. Reports said that the van was transporting lecturers including two foreign nationals who were returning after teaching at the university.
The bomber was 30 year old Shari Baloch from Nizar Abad in Balochistan. She had completed her MSc in zoology and was married to a doctor. She was pursuing her MPhil and was a practising science teachers according to a statement released by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the Afghanistan based militant organisation.
She joined the self sacrifice squad of the BLA's Majeed Brigade two years back. The BLA said that she had been offered the option to opt out of the squad because of her two young children. She however refused. The BLA has threatened to target more Chinese nationals and China's interests in Balochistan.
During her two years, she rendered her services in various units of the Majeed Brigade. Six months back, she confirmed that she stood by her decision of carrying out a self-sacrificing attack. Following this she was actively involved in the mission.
"Baloch Liberation Army's Majeed Brigade targeted Chinese officials in an attack on Tuesday in Karachi. Three Chinese officials Huang Guiping, Ding Mufang, and Chen Sai were killed in the attack, whereas, Wang Yuqing and their security guards were injured," a statement from BLA read.
"Targeting director and officials of Confucius institute, the symbol of Chinese economic, cultural and political expansionism, was to give a clear message to China that its direct or indirect presence in Balochistan will not be tolerated," the BLA said.
The Chinese nationals have been the target of terror attacks in Karachi in the past as well. In 2020, the BLA claimed responsibility for the terror attacks on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and the Chinese Consulate in 2018.
In 2021, three people including nine Chinese nationals were killed in an explosion that it hit a bus carrying Chinese engineers to a hydro-power plant construction site in northern Pakistan.
In 2020, five people died when the Pakistan Stock Exchange was hit in Karachi. The attack claimed by the BLA was in retaliation to Chinese exploitative plans in Balochistan.
In 2018 the BLA claimed another attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi in which four people were killed.
The BLA said that the attacks on Chinese nationals is because Beijing ignored warnings not to enter into deals and agreements regarding Balochistan before the province had been liberated.
China'a major port projects in Balochistan include the port of Gwadar which is strategically located near the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial oil shipping route in the Arabian Sea.
Further a Chinese company operates a major gold and copper mine in Balochistan. The BLA says that its outfit is Mae up of young, educated Baloch who are disillusioned by the hardship and also being sidelined from economic development.