Pakistan’s newly-appointed security chief in Balochistan has warned that he will go to any extent to end the Baloch insurgency, even if it means going inside Iran and teaching the Baloch separatists a lesson.
Inspector-General of Frontier Corps, Major General Ayman Bilal, said this during a recent meeting, terming Iran as Pakistan’s “biggest enemy”.
Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Sun has quoted him as saying: “Iran is the biggest enemy of Pakistan now, the threat of FATF is averted today, tomorrow we will go inside Iran and teach the Baloch separatists a lesson that their generations will remember”.
Pakistan has been on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list since June 2018 on the charges of terror financing. The Paris-headquartered watchdog has asked Islamabad to implement a plan of action to curb money laundering and terror financing.
“At the moment we have the option to take action within 25 kilometers of the Iranian border and we will use this option on time,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Pakistan has long expressed concerns over “militants” operating from Iran on the other side of the shared border and urged for cooperation to eliminate the threat of militancy in Balochistan. With Balochistan province being home to several China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, there are security concerns at the project sites.
The CPEC will connect the Gwadar port and Xinjiang province in China.
Major General Bilal has reportedly stressed that it is important for both China and Pakistan to end the Baloch movement to make the CPEC a success. During a meeting at Frontier Corps headquarters in Turbat with local agents of FC and intelligence agencies, he said:
“We have a good amount of money for this task, so let us know how much you need because we can’t wait any longer for Iran to create unrest in Balochistan, conspire against CPEC, and stab us in the stomach in the name of friendship”.
Major General revealed he has been deployed by China in the region to crush the Baloch movement in six months. He revealed that due to his extensive experience of working in Balochistan for 30 years he has been posted here. He said:
“China has paid me a salary and a large sum of money and officially posted me here for their regional interests and to thwart Iran’s conspiracies against CPEC, as it is a kind of investment in regional interests.”
Security Concerns in Balochistan
The Baloch resistance against the Pakistani government and their demand for independence date back many years. The province remains the country’s most underdeveloped despite being the largest in the terms of size.
The region is gifted with huge mineral resources including gas, oil, cobalt, copper among others. With the Chinese involvement in the CPEC, the people in the region feel deprived. The locals believe while their resources are being extracted, they are not getting anything in return.
The Baloch leaders feel that the locals and the indigenous Baloch tribes are not being given the due share. In 2020, there has been a substantial rise in the number of attacks on security forces and government installations. As many as 67 attacks were reported against the government forces in the first half of 2020.
Recently, the government has started building barricades or walls to protect the project sites. Major General Bilal underlined fencing was decided after the failure of all security options.