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The Baloch Liberation Army’s Majeed Brigade stuns Pakistan’s Frontier Corps with audacious attacks

The nine BLA fidayeen killed during the attack on the Noshki camp of Pakistani security forces (Photo: BLA)

The last 40 hours may have been the longest in the life of the Pakistani Army.

An armed group fighting for the liberation of Balochistan—the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), attacked the Pakistani Frontier Corps (FC) headquarters in Panjgur, Balochistan, on Wednesday night and has occupied it outmanoeuvring professional Pakistani forces equipped with helicopter gunships and armoured personnel carriers till Friday evening.

It has reportedly inflicted heavy casualties on the Pakistani troops.

For the Baloch organisations, this has been their biggest and boldest attack against Pakistani forces, who they see as an occupying force, which has unleashed death squads, kidnapped Baloch youth and run a terror campaign among their community. The Baloch groups see the Pakistan government as an exploitative colonial power that has kept the Baloch people deprived of education, livelihoods and basic necessities like water and power but sucked out its rich mineral wealth in partnership with China.

With the Pakistan-China bonhomie over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Baloch now feel doubly marginalised as large parts of the project are being executed in Balochistan where the local population has been kept away from employment opportunities generated by the project.

While the Baloch see both Pakistan and China from the same prism of alienation and exploitation of the Baloch people, the armed groups have unleashed attacks that have unsettled China.

The last ten days have seen an uptick in Baloch attacks against Pakistani troops with heavy casualties. These attacks come on the heels of a mass agitation led by a popular Baloch leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).

The BLA's Majeed Brigade, an elite group with committed fidayeen (self-sacrificing guerrillas) has earlier also been involved in some audacious attacks. India Narrative lists out some of the attacks with insight from Pakistan watcher Mark Kinra.

# On 12 August 2018, a suicide attack on a bus carrying Chinese engineers for the Saindak mining project in Dalbandin area caused injuries to five people including three Chinese engineers. The Saindak joint venture between Pakistan and China extracts gold, copper and silver from the mineral-rich Balochistan region.

# On 24 November 2018, BLA fighters tried to storm the Chinese Consulate in the high security Clifton area of Karachi that killed four people. The grenade and gun attack left all three attackers dead. A grateful Chinese embassy issued a statement saying: "Any attempt to undermine China-Pakistan relationship is doomed to fail".

Kinra says that the mastermind of the Chinese consulate attack, Aslam Baloch Achu was later killed along with five other commanders in Kandahar, Afghanistan, showing the close links that the Baloch nationalists enjoy across the border.

# On 12 May 2019, the BLA attacked the Zaver Pearl Continental Hotel in the port city of Gwadar–being built by China, and killed five people. The injured included personnel from Pakistan's armed forces. All three Baloch fighters were killed in the operation.

# On 29 June 2020, four men of the BLA attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi with guns and grenades causing seven deaths. All four BLA attackers were killed by the security forces.

Kinra says that the significance of this attack was that 40 per cent of the shares in the Karachi Stock Exchange are held by Chinese companies, alluding to the fact that this attack was on Chinese interests.

# On 20 August 2021, two children were killed and three people including a Chinese national wounded in an attack by a suicide bomber who targeted a convoy of three vehicles carrying Chinese nationals and Pakistan police in Gwadar port city.

This attack led to a sharp retort by China which asked Pakistan to provide upgraded security to Chinese nationals. In its characteristic style, Beijing also asked Pakistan to investigate the attack and severely punish the attackers.

Other Baloch groups also have executed similar operations against both China and Pakistan, but the ones by the BLA Majeed Brigade have been the largest and most consistent.

Exclusive: Free Baloch Movement leader refutes Beijing statement on Gwadar protests as 'fake news'