Gwadar Suicide Attack Reflects the Challenges in Balochistan

On May 10, 2019, five people including a soldier were killed after gunmen stormed the Pearl Continental, a five-star luxury hotel, in Balochistan. According to news stories the attack killed four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier and injured six others, including two army captains, two navy soldiers and two hotel employees.

In a statement the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack referring to it “a practical example of following our founder leader martyr General Aslam Baloch’s approach of fighting against the occupiers until the complete liberation of Balochistan.” The BLA also asserted that the attack “was fully supported by Baloch armed organisations Balochistan Liberation Front and Baloch Republican Army (Beebarg).”

Further, the statement said “Our self-sacrificing squad successfully achieved all their targets and killed dozens of Chinese and military personnel in Gwadar attack today. China or any other foreign power will not be allowed to exploit the natural resources of Balochistan and they will be targeted with brute force until and unless they leave Balochistan and put an end to all their so-called economic and military endeavours.”

BLA statement also noted: ““Today members of BLA Majeed Brigade broke all security cordons in Gwadar and fully occupied Pearl Continental Hotel, where we had information that dozens of Chinese and other foreigners were present. In the battle that lasted for multiple hours our brave fighters killed scores of foreigners and Pakistani personnel. Simultaneously, Gwadar port was also attacked with rockets inflicting heavy losses on it. Our brave fighters occupied the hotel for more than ten hours. During this time, they did not only fight against the Pakistani military but also searched each and every room of the hotel and killed scores of Chinese officials. Pakistani state and its media are once again hiding their failures by downplaying the number of causalities. However, Baloch fighters successfully achieved their targets and embraced martyrdom by using their last bullets on themselves after they run out of ammunition. We have warned China and other foreign investors multiple times and we want to inform them once again that Baloch Liberation Army will not accept any so-called economic or military manoeuvres in Balochistan. No one will be allowed to plunder Baloch resources and use our coastal line for their military interests. Therefore, foreign powers particularly China should immediately withdraw from their all projects in Balochistan. In these circumstances BLA is willing to halt its actions against Chinese nationals until they fully evacuate. Otherwise, today’s attack in itself proves that BLA is capable of achieving any target no matter how heightened Pakistani security cordons are.”

The Chinese embassy in Islamabad condemned the attack and hailed the “heroic action of Pakistani army and law enforcement agencies” in a post on Twitter.

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