Chief Minister of Balochistan, Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo. (APP)
India’s rising influence in Afghanistan is causing alarm in Pakistan.Major terror attacks have been thwarted, but some terrorists still reach softer targets.
Updated 07 April 2018
April 07, 2018 21:05
QUETTA: A security crackdown in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province is paving the way for greater economic prosperity in the troubled region, according to Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, the chief minister.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Bizenjo said violence in the province was declining and “much peace has been restored.” Nevertheless many problems remained.
He vowed that complete peace will be restored so the Baloch people can benefit from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
“I will go to China to sign memorandums of understanding regarding three major projects for the province.”
Bizenjo, 44, was sworn in as chief minister of the strategically important Pakistani province in January after a regime change that angered former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his allies.
The chief minister warned that militants were crossing the border from Afghanistan to carry out sabotage in the Pakistani province.
“We have arrested many people. However, some still manage to reach small targets. But they have been unable to reach the major ones,” he said.
Bizenjo said law enforcement agencies had thwarted attacks by 13 suicide bombers. “Had they reached their target, there would have been devastation,” he said.
Foreign influence was responsible for much of the lawlessness in the province, he said.
“Whoever we arrest turns out to have links with our neighboring country. Recently a mastermind of the targeted killing divulged that he had been trained in Afghanistan.”
Bizenjo also claimed that India’s rising influence in Afghanistan was a source of growing concern for Pakistan.
“India has opened many consulates. Do you think these have been opened out of love for Afghanistan?” he asked.
He accused India of using its consulates to destabilize Pakistan, especially Balochistan province, which has growing strategic importance because of the economic corridor and other major projects.
Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, director-general of the Pakistan Army’s media wing, recently claimed that the crackdown by security agencies had led to a large-scale reduction in violence in Quetta and throughout Balochistan province.
An annual report by Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies said deaths from violence in Balochistan in 2017 had dropped by almost half compared with the previous year.
According to the report, the number of terror attacks in Quetta fell from 288 in 2016 to 128 last year, a 55 percent fall.
In cases of religiously motivated acts of violence, according to the report, Balochistan witnessed 30 percent decline from 73 in 2016 to 51 in 2017.