Karachi hit: Will China learn lessons?

Paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside, after an attack on the Chinese consulate, in Karachi, Pakistan. REUTERS

The attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi recently underscores China’s growing vulnerability to attacks in other countries. The Baluch Liberation Army (BLA), which is strongly opposed to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it excludes the Baluchis from its benefits even as it draws on Baluchistan’s resources, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Although the three heavily-armed BLA militants who stormed the consulate compound were shot dead before they could enter the consulate building, they managed to inflict sufficient damage. Not only did they kill four people, including two policemen, but also, the attack must have set China worrying about the safety of its assets, nationals and investments in Pakistan. China has a huge presence in Pakistan. In addition to scores of CPEC-related infrastructure projects it is executing in Pakistan, there are tens of thousands of Chinese nationals living and working there. Baluch militants have attacked CPEC project sites and Chinese workers in the past as well. In August, for instance, a BLA suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying Chinese nationals working at a mine in Baluchistan. Pakistan has sought to allay China’s security concerns by setting up a 15,000-strong Special Security Division to guard CPEC projects. Still militants are able to penetrate the security cordon as they did last week when they targeted the Chinese consulate, which is located in a high-security zone in Karachi.

As China’s economic clout spreads, its projects are coming under fire abroad. Also, China’s aggressive policies towards its minority ethnic nationalities such as the Uighurs have provoked groups like the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) to attack Chinese targets. Under pressure from Beijing, Pakistan has targeted ETIM training camps on its soil but these continue to thrive. The ETIM is known to have strong ties with other Pakistan-based extremist and jihadist groups like the al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which have all threatened China with consequences for its anti-Muslim policies. China has pressured Islamabad to eliminate ETIM, but it remains supportive of Pakistan sponsoring anti-India terrorist groups. It has, for instance, repeatedly blocked Indian attempts to blacklist terrorists like Masood Azhar. China’s selective approach towards international terrorism can be expected to boomerang as terror outfits, especially those with jihadist-Islamist mindsets, have logistical and other ties. At a minimum, they train together. It is well-known that the Pakistan military is the patron of all these terror groups. China is deluding itself by depending on the Pakistan military to secure its projects. China’s enormous assets, projects and nationals remain under threat so long as Beijing accommodates Pakistan’s habit of using terrorism as an instrument of its strategic policy.

 

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry

Comments:

Karachi hit: Will China learn lessons?

0 comments

Write the first review for this !