Will Balochistan ever see peace? This is the question that many people want an answer to. The attack on Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel at Gwadar raises many questions on the law and order situation of the province. Despite the claims of the provincial authorities earlier this year, two attacks in less than a month inform us that the law and order situation in the province is not up to the mark. Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claims responsibility for the attack. BLA was also behind the Ormara attack.
BLA claiming responsibility for the two attacks reveals that the outlawed organisation still can launch terrorist attacks in Balochistan with ease. The fact that BLA is yet to be neutralised or eliminated raises serious questions on the efficiencies of all the authorities that are responsible for the law and order situation of the province. The attack on a building where foreigners, especially Chinese, reside also tells us that the undermining China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of BLA’s goals.
Even though law enforcement agencies have a heavy presence in Gwadar, the security breach is alarming. It’s been quite some time that BLA is trying to undermine CPEC. The banned outfit also targeted Chinese consulate in Karachi in late November last year. The state needs not to take BLA’s action lightly as it is clear now that the group has emerged as a significant threat to Pakistani and Chinese interests that CPEC contain.
It is vital for the state to come up with a new strategy to overcome the menace of terrorism in the province. The restive province has been under insurgency for more than thirteen years now. This shows that the traditional methods that the state deploy to fight insurgency are proving insufficient, inefficient and counterproductive.
It will be better to look for out of the box solutions for the law and order situation of the province. The state has overlooked the role that poverty and economic marginalisation play in terrorism. These two factors prove the most potent tools for organisations like BLA to recruit young people in their rank and file.
At the same time, the state also needs to realise that organisations rely on terrorist tactics to register political protests. Therefore, this necessitates for a change in the modus operandi of the government against all separatist groups. A genuine engagement on the part of the state with such groups can bring an end to more-than-a-decade-long insurgency in the province.