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Baloch leader condemns Pakistan’s Azm-e-Istehkam Operation, alleges Chinese influence

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Hyrbyair Marri, a Baloch political leader based in the United Kingdom, has strongly criticised Pakistan’s military operation known as Azm-e-Istehkam in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

Marri, known for his advocacy of Baloch independence, alleged that the operation was being conducted on the orders of China to protect its economic interests in Pakistan.

Marri posted on X, “A new military operation is being planned by #Pakistan on #Chinese orders against the Baloch and #Pashtun, known as #Azmelstehkaam (Resolve for Stability). That’s Azm-e-Istehkam for #China and #Punjab, not for the Baloch and Pashtun people.”

He further criticised the operation as benefiting “Punjabi hegemony” while causing “chaos and death” in Balochistan and Pashtunistan.

Marri also expressed concern over the involvement of Pashtuns in the Pakistani army, accusing them of being used to suppress their own people’s aspirations.

He urged them to prioritise the protection of their homeland, Pashtunistan, rather than serving what he described as Punjabi interests.

The military operation has sparked widespread condemnation from Baloch and Pashtun communities, who have historically resisted Islamabad’s authority and expressed grievances over issues including sovereignty and rights.

The regions, which have seen unrest for years, have been focal points of resistance against Chinese investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

China’s substantial investments in Pakistan, particularly in infrastructure projects in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have faced opposition from local populations.

Incidents such as the recent attack on a convoy of Chinese engineers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulting in casualties, underscore the security challenges faced by Chinese nationals in the region.

During recent high-level visits between Pakistani and Chinese officials, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army Chief General Asim Munir, the security of Chinese interests in Pakistan was prominently discussed.

Senior Chinese official Liu Jianchao reiterated the importance of safeguarding Chinese investments and personnel in the country.

As tensions escalate, hashtags like #ExpansionistChinalnstigatingBalochAndPashtunGenocide and #StopBalochAndPashtunGenocide have gained traction on social media, reflecting growing international attention to the situation.

The situation remains fluid as stakeholders navigate complex geopolitical dynamics amidst ongoing resistance and security challenges in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.