Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visits Balochistan after assaults by militants

WION Web Team
Quetta, Pakistan Updated: Feb 08, 2022, 05:13 PM(IST)

The military has launched a massive crackdown in the aftermath of the deadly siege on the Frontier Corps (FC) headquarters in Panjgur and Noshki that reportedly killed about 190 odd troops. Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

It comes after twenty militants and nine soldiers were killed in recent days during insurgent attacks on two military bases in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province and the military's response

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa have landed in the Naushki district of Balochistan.

During their visit, they will be briefed about the security situation in the area as well as operational preparedness of the formation to counter-terrorist activities.

It comes after twenty militants and nine soldiers were killed recently during insurgent attacks on two military bases in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province and the military's response.

Also read | After 72-hour ops, Pak security forces kill remaining Balochistan insurgents, toll reaches 20

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which had earlier claimed the attack, also issued a statement last week saying “all targets successfully achieved.” 

Ethnic Baloch guerrillas have been fighting the government for decades, demanding a separate state and saying the central government unfairly exploits Balochistan's rich gas and mineral resources.

Imran Khan's official visit to China, which has invested significantly in Balochistan, further stoked tensions.

During the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that "the Chinese side firmly supports Pakistan in safeguarding its national independence, sovereignty, and dignity, as well as in combating terrorism", according to state media.

Also read | Beijing Olympics 2022: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese investments in Balochistan are part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project linking China's far-western Xinjiang region with the strategic port of Gwadar in Balochistan has sparked claims that the vast influx of investment does not benefit locals.

Chinese companies invested more than $20 billion in non-financial direct investment on projects in BRI countries in 2021, according to China's commerce ministry.

While the economic corridor offers a lucrative gateway for China to the Indian Ocean, the security of its workers has long been a concern. Islamabad and Beijing have forged strong ties in recent years. 

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App