chinese national dead in Pakistan

On the 26th of March in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, suicide bombers rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers, who were heading to the Dasu Dam site, a hydropower project on the Indus River from Islamabad. Five Chinese engineers and their Pakistani driver were killed due to the impact of the blast. This is the third major attack on Chinese interest and an addition to the frequent terror attacks that have been rising in Pakistan in the last couple of years. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Baloch militants are the two major perpetrators in most of these attacks. 

So why is there an increase in terror activity?

The answer to this question lies in the history of Pakistan’s relationship with the terror outfits and the type of governments that ruled the country since its independence.

Begining of End – What Compromised Pakistan’s Credibility?

Fact – Since its separation from india in 1947, no elected government in Pakistan has ever fulfilled their term and has been under military dictatorship for 34 years.

Soon after partition Pakistan engaged itself in war with India and put the military at the forefront of nation-building, instead of a democratically elected government. A few influential individuals and families, who were staunch supporters of the erstwhile Muslim League assumed power after the British and established an understanding of the military in governance. But guess what – It took 9 years for Pakistan to implement a constitution. 

Yet this was also scrapped when a military dictatorship came into power in 1958.

The first true general election was held in Pakistan in the year 1970, in which Seikh Mujibur Rehman and his party Awami League from erstwhile West Pakistan (now Bangladesh) won an absolute majority. But this didn’t sit well with the Punjabi power in the erstwhile East Pakistan (now pakistan). And the Punjabi-muslim dominated Pakistani army launched Operation Searchlight, through which the army dismantled the elected government in the East, and started genocidal mass killings, rape and arson to attack Mujib’s Bangladesh.

A few years after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1973, Bhutto took oath as the first truly elected PM of Pakistan, however, his term also went unfulfilled when he was toppled by a military coup in 1977.

With this General Ayub Khan became the first military dictator in Pakistan. Know for using religious extremism as a tool to remain in power, Ayub’s policies gave rise to this struggling and unstable country that exists today.

Pakistan Relaunches As America’s Vassal State

Since its Independence Pakistan has been a close ally of the West led by America and Britain. As Britain’s influence declined and America rose as a superpower with Soviet Russia, the Cold War happened. While India opted for non-alignment, Pakistan got caught up in the West’s game and chose to side with the United States. 

After having tasted defeat in the Vietnam war, the United States opted for proxy war to fight the Soviet power in Afghan war. And for this they needed Pakistan help. 

With weapon and monetary aid from the US, Pakistan trained militants on its soil and sent them to war in Afghanistan. This continued for more than a decade and in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Islamic extremism was used and the concept of Jihad (Holy War) was indoctrinated into the youth. Pakistan thus became a factory of terrorism. 

And for this the America-dominated multinational institutions showered Pakistan with foreign aid. The money filled the pockets of Military leaders, their business allies and corrupt politicians, which also incentivised them to keep the factory of terrorism running. Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf in an interview openly bragged about these training camps and the involvement of the USA. In the same interview, he stated that terrorist like Bin Laden was a hero in Pakistan.

Birth of New Pakistan – The Terrorist State

During this period of Pakistan’s unholy US partnership, Pakistan Army also found opportunities to hamper India. It trained and sent militants equipping them with ammo into Kashmir and instigated violence and instability in the valley. Since the late 70s to 90s, the valley saw several persecutions of Hindu minorities by militants. The worst one was the 1991 genocide, in which militants along with Islamic extremists took to the streets and started killing Hindu Pundits in Bangladesh-like mass genocide, ultimately forcing an exodus of Hindus from Kashmir.

Another result of Pakistan’s support to terrorism was the birth of various terror organisations like Afghan Mujahedeen, Taliban, Al Qaida, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jaish-e-Mohammed and ISIS.

Now, lets look at what has been happening in Pakistan.

Collapse of Pakistani Society 

FactThe Pashtun province, situated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province along with the Balochistan Province and certain parts of Sindh province are the resource-rich area of the country. However, these regions have always been exploited by Islamabad and ignored when it came to development.

The terror outfits of Pakistan especially the TTP and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) have been demanding the liberation of Pashtun tribal lands in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and freedom of Balochistan respectively.

In 2014 when the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or  CPEC was announced these regions were as always treated as cash cows. This in turn intensified the resentment of native people towards the Pakistani administration.

The final nail in the coffin was the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021. Pakistan under the leadership of Imran Khan wholeheartedly supported the takeover and declared it as a win of Islam against imperial western forces. After the takeover the TTP gained traction and their activities on the Afghan-Pak border increased. Taliban also joined the wagon and started attacking Pakistani troops violating cease fire agreements. The BLA also started targeting Chinese infra projects and Pakistani police stations. Most of these attacks occurred in the northwest and southern regions, that is the regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pashtun and Baluchistan. Apart from TTP and BLA several other outfits like Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP) and Islamic State Khorasan (ISI-K) are also active in this region. On top of that the ongoing economic crisis and the West’s withdrawal of support made it impossible for the country to successfully launch counter-terrorism initiatives.

  • According to research provided by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), militants carried out 376 terror operations in 2022, resulting in 533 deaths and 832 injuries. 
  • According to the 2023 annual security report issued by the Islamabad-based Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), at least 1,524 violence-related casualties and 1,463 injuries were registered in Pakistan year 2023 as a result of 789 terror incidents and counterterrorism operations. Approximately 1,000 civilians and security personnel were killed.
  • The Peshawar mosque attack on 30th Jan 2023 saw the highest number, at least 101, of civilian deaths 
  • The military base attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saw the highest number, 23, of armed forces deaths.
  • The BLA in recent months targeted a Pakistani naval air base and a government complex outside the Chinese-funded strategic port of Gwadar.
  • The March 26th is also conducted by BLA, in which six people were killed.
  • In July 2021, at least nine Chinese engineers working on a hydropower project were killed when a suicide bomber rammed into their bus, in an attack that was eerily similar to what unfolded on March 26.

After all this the country’s military is still at tussle for power. On one hand the citizens are pulling their support from the military and on other hand another general election is rigged by the military to uphold their dominance. Economic conditions are not improving and tension is rising with Afghanistan fearing the escalation of full fledged war. Amidst all these China has also halted all CPEC projects discontinuing their investment. So it is yet to be seen how the country will move forward from here on.

By thewonk