Gilgit-Baltistan on target | THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
Terrorism is re-emerging in the country, and with specific targets. Yesterday’s attacks targeted Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan — both vital in the context of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a basket that carries most of our eggs, if not all. The storming of a police station in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Kargah area by militants in which three policemen lost their lives, and the injuries to three Chinese engineers associated with Saindak Copper-Gold Project in a blast in Balochistan’s Dalbandin area are evident of the enemy’s nefarious game plan based on exploiting ethnic and sectarian fault lines, and creating terror in the region. Before that the burning down of 12 girls’ schools had also happened in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Rewind to around a year back. Look at what James Mattis, the then US defence secretary, had told the Senate Armed Services Committee in October 2017: “The One Belt, One Road also goes through disputed territory, and I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate”. The US position is originally an India claim aimed at thwarting Pakistan’s core development project, the project that is dubbed a fate changer. In his June 2015 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ‘very strongly’ raised the CPEC issue and termed the project ‘unacceptable’ for passing through the ‘disputed’ territory.
Hence, there are attempts at sabotage and destabilisation in the CPEC zone. The proxies at work for the enemy countries are the TTP, the IS and their affiliates. Authorities have long denied the existence of IS in Pakistan, but many recent attacks as well as related arrests prove otherwise. Even if the IS phenomenon is yet to happen to Pakistan, its presence next door must be a genuine cause for concern for Pakistan. It leaves little doubt now that the ruthless terrorist outfit is gaining serious ground in Afghanistan in pursuit of its ‘sacred’ mission against ‘infidels’. That does not bode well for Pakistan whose efforts for peace in Afghanistan — through talks between Kabul and the Taliban — appear to be making progress.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2018.