By Sajjad Shaukat
When during the Musharraf regime, with the Chinese assistance, Pakistan initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in the Balochistan province in March 2002; sirens went off in the capitals of foreign countries, especially the US, India and Israel who took it as a threat to their global and regional plans.
Balochistan’s ideal strategic location, its abundant mineral resources like gas, coal and gold, entailing Pakistan’s close ties with China already pinch the eyes of the US, India, Israel and some Western countries like the UK which have been destabilizing Pakistan for their collective aims. But, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which infuriates them has become their special target.
While, India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the US also joined India in this respect. In this regard, on October 3, 2017, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”
America’s support for India’s opposition to the Chinese project was first reflected in the joint statement, issued by the two countries after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Donald Trump in June, this year.
Pakistan strongly dismissed the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, passes through a disputed territory, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.”
Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR initiative was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative.
In fact, being the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, Pakistan was already on the hit-list of the US-led India and Israel, including some Western countries. But, after the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan’s province of Balochistan, American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad, including British MI6 have been supporting target killings, suicide attacks, hostage-takings, sectarian and ethnic violence in various cities of the country, while backing separatist elements in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces. As part of the double game, based in Afghanistan, these secret agencies which have well-established their covert networks there and are well-penetrated in the terrorist outfits like the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and their affiliated Taliban groups are using their terrorists to destabilize Tibetan regions of China, Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan by arranging the subversive activities.
While, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan.
But, these foreign elements have, again, started terror attacks in Balochistan and other regions of the country which show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel want to weaken Pakistan and to damage the CPEC.
Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, but covertly, they continue to destabilize it, especially with the assistance of India.
In this respect, terror attacks coincide with a continued propaganda campaign against Pakistan. Indo-Israeli lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US administration and Europe, research centers, think tanks, universities and so-called human rights groups leave no stone unturned in continuing their endless propaganda against Pakistan, especially Balochistan. Particularly, RAW is availing the opportunity of the US-led organized propaganda campaign against Pakistan.
In connivance with the US and Israel, New Delhi has been using every possible tactic to create unrest in Pakistan in general and Balochistan in particular to obstruct the CPEC project. In collaboration with CIA and Mossad, RAW has been involved in acts of sabotage, being conducted in Balochistan through Baloch sub-nationalists and other terrorists groups to hamper the progress of the Gwadar port which is the central point of the CPEC.
It is noteworthy that on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of RAW in Balochistan. During investigation and in video, shown on Pakistan’s TV channels, RAW agent Kulbushan Yadav confessed that “he was the agent of RAW” and “during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” project.
In the recent past, Indian former Army Chief Gen. VK Singh openly admitted that during his tenure, he supervised special army unit, Tactical Support Division (TSD) on the instructions of the then defence minister to sponsor subversive acts in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan.
With the help of the US-led entities like parliamentarians, media anchors, scholars and human rights groups, India manipulates the petty matters and local rivalries in Balochistan.
As regards, Balochistan, in the recent past, posters reading “Free Balochistan” appeared on vehicles in London. In this context, a statement released by the Pakistan’s Foreign Office said, “Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua summoned British High Commissioner in Pakistan Thomas Drew on November 3, 2017 over slogans displayed on London cabs, saying, “That directly attack Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty…the high commissioner was informed that Pakistan, in line with the United Nations Charter, rejects actions and advertisements with malicious content that impinge on our sovereignty and territorial integrity…the “issue was also being raised with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by our High Commissioner in London.”
In September this year, Islamabad had also summoned Swiss ambassador over the public display of anti-Pakistan posters by a group in Switzerland. A Foreign Office statement had said that a strong protest had been lodged with the ambassador over Swiss authorities, permitting the use of its territory for propaganda by elements linked with the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a ‘terrorist organisation perpetrating terrorism and violence in Pakistan’. It pointed out, “Any notion of ‘Free Baluchistan’ is a flagrant attack on [the] sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan.”
It is notable that Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had led a high-level delegation to China and met Chinese President Xi Jinping and his counterpart Li Keqiang on May 13, 2017. On the same day, Beijing and Islamabad signed three agreements pertaining to economic and technical cooperation of worth 3.4 billion Yuan for Gwadar port and East Bay expressway. In the meeting with the Chinese president, P.M. Sharif stated that the presence of all the chief ministers [of Pakistan’s provinces] shows the importance our nation gives to Pak-China ties. He added, “China is our strategic partner, and has always stood by our stance on the Kashmir issue…The benefits of the Chinese investment of $56 billion with regards to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will soon reach the common man in Pakistan.” Chinese rulers also expressed similar feelings.
It is regrettable that since July 28, 2017 when five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its verdict in connection with the Panama Papers case and disqualified the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in relation to the charges of ‘corruption’, the deposed prime minister and head of the Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), his daughter Maryam Nawaz, some ministers and leaders of his party are, continuously, criticizing the key institutions of Pakistan such as the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). At this critical juncture, they have ignored the services of Pakistan Army, rendered for the development of Balochistan in order to bring the Baloch people in the mainstream of the country. Thus, they have neglected the international conspiracy against the Balochistan province.
In this connection, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Major General Asif Ghafoor pointed out that Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on November 23, 2017 launched the ‘Khush Hal [Prosperous] Balochistan’ project in Quetta, which is aimed at ensuring stability through socio-economic development and security…the Army chief eloborated the 10-year package for Balochistan… provision of natural gas, electricity, and water to the inhabitants.”
It is of particular attention that in June, 2016, talking to the Radio Ashna, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, chairman of Balochistan’s Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, who is very close to the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and was also present in his recent procession at Abbottabad had stirred up a controversy by saying that “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [KP] belongs to Afghans and they can live there without fear and irritation…If Afghans are harassed in other parts of Pakistan, they should come here to the KP province, where no one can ask them for refugee cards, because it also belongs to them,” Achakzai further stated, “Kabul and Islamabad should exercise extreme caution to resolve Torkham crossing conflict. Otherwise, they should leave the issue to the US and China, and they would resolve it within two weeks.” Later, he added that his party would put up resistance if Afghan refugees were harassed.
It is worth-mentioning that since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many insurgents and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and the province, peace has been restored in the province.
But, it is misfortune that some external and internal entities have still been misleading the Baloch people in order to fulfill the hidden agenda of some powers who have converted Balochistan into a hub of international conspiracy.
Taking cognizance of the international conspiracy and external threat of terrorism, Pakistan Army and Navy have ensured the security of Gwadar Port which has gained great importance and is vital for the success of CPEC.