Islamabad, May 13
Pakistan’s Balochistan province has been one of the most critical in terms of security challenges for the law enforcement agencies and the armed forces of the country. The province remains to be a major challenge as proscribed outfits continue to target security forces in targeted attacks, while armed forces opt to Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) to tackle the menace of terrorism.
Balochistan has been a hub for terror outfits like the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which maintains strong presence in the northern region of the province, and other groups including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other affiliated groups, which are spread throughout the widespread landscape of the province with scattered pockets of localities.
Balochistan is also the centre of attraction because of the Gwadar Port and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route, security of which is ensured by the Pakistan army. The CPEC route and the Gwadar Port have been a target of terror attacks in the past, in which several foreign nationals have also lost their lives.
The provincial government of Balochistan is usually seen as a front face to a strong military control at the back, in view of the serious and consistently threatening situation that prevails in the province.
Balochistan’s sensitive positioning can also be established as it is linked to Afghanistan through Chaman and newly opened Spin Boldak-Chaman for trade between the two countries. However, the porous border demarcation has seen several incidents of cross border movement of miscreants and terrorists and heavy exchange of gunfire between the security forces and the militants.
While on one side, the threatening border line with Afghanistan poses major challenges, the Pak-Iran border has also seen incidents of cross-border firing and shelling in the past.
The Pakistan-Iran border is also a route for movement of hundreds of thousands of Shia pilgrims, who travel for their religious rituals to Iran every year.
Balochistan is undoubtedly by far the most neglected province of Pakistan as lack of basic facilities, water and shelter still remains a major challenge for many of its locals.
With the recent floods that hit Pakistan and swallowed at least 2/3 of the country, Balochistan was among the worst hit and affected.
Experts say that Balochistan remains a serious challenge for Pakistan in every possible way, adding that the porous terrains and border sharing with Afghanistan and Iran, make it even more challenging for the Pakistan government and its security forces to ensure stability and peace in the region.