Spooks and militancy


Dr Amir Sheikh, Karachi’s police chief, recently stated that India’s Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) had allegedly facilitated terrorists belonging to the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) for attacking the Chinese consulate in November 2018. The revelations were unsurprising given how non-state actors operate in a shadowy manner around the world. Fake identities, local facilitators, surveillance techniques and smuggled weapons clearly indicate that the planning phase lasted several months.
According to the police chief, the key purpose of the attack was to sabotage Sino-Pak bilateral ties and prevent further progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Afghanistan was used as a base of operations where the handlers and masterminds of the attack were based. However, a recent suicide attack in Kandahar province, may have killed Aslam Achu, the key suspect. Nevertheless, police officials believe that it may be a diversion since such tactics have been employed in the past for evading authorities.
It seems that covert warfare in the region is likely reaching its pinnacle for various geopolitical aims and vested interests. RAW’s alleged involvement is not something new since it had been facilitating terrorism across Pakistan in the past through its bases in Afghanistan. Kulbhushan Yadhav was once such intelligence agent who used to conduct these operations but was eventually nabbed by Pakistan some three years ago. As for BLA, it has a long history of being involved in terrorism incidents for the purpose of seceding Balochistan from Pakistan. Similarly, other groups such as the Balochistan Republican Army (BRA) were provided facilitations by external handlers in the past.
Unsurprisingly their leadership is settled abroad in places like Geneva and London from where they also carry out their political activities. Back in 2017, posters and banners of ‘Free Balochistan’ sprung up in these cities which were likely funded by RAW’s front groups.