Chinese submarines have arrived at Gwadar Port and a leader of the Baloch freedom movement whose brother and two nephews were killed by Pakistan army last week has raised an alarm over the development. “Presence of Chinese submarines in the Baloch Sea at Gwadar is a threat to the entire region as China is supporting a rogue state Pakistan” gold medalist gynecologist Dr Allah Nazar, who is chief of the Baloch Liberation Front, said in a tweet Sunday. By Baloch Sea, Dr Allah Nazar meant the warm Hormuz waters. Though the BLF chief did not mention, it is most likely the Chinese submarine is nuclear powered.
However, major powers like the US and India appear to be sleeping over the development in one of the strategically sexiest regions in the Hormuz waters. Chinese president Xi Jinping was in Islamabad in April and promised $50 billion to Pakistan if Islamabad helped connect Gwadar Port with Kasghar in Xinjiang province as part of his Maritime Silk Road vision. At least two to three Baloch freedom fighters are being killed by Pakistan army and intelligence services each day since Xi’s visit. Xi had expressed concern over the security situation and Pakistan army has set put a new battalion comprising at least 12,000 soldiers, backed by air force, to provide security to the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Dr Allah Nazar is himself a former torture victim. Last week, Pakistani soldiers launched a massive operation on his ancestral Mehi village killing his eldest brother Safar Khan and two nephews Suleman Baloch and Zakir Baloch. As many as 10 others, including close relatives of the BLF chief, were also killed in the military operation in which helicopter gunships were also used. Scores of women and children were wounded. The army also burned down homes in Mehi. In a statement, the BLF said such killings will not weaken the liberation aspirations of the Baloch people. The BLF works closely with other pro-independence organizations such as Baloch National Movement and Baloch Students Organization Azad. It is the first time in the history of Balochistan that the generally docile segments of the Baloch population in the coastal Makkuran division, northern land border of the Straits of Hormuz, have risen up in arms against Pakistan war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There is almost zero support to Baloch liberation movement from world powers, though Pakistan suspects India, USA and Israel of supporting the freedom struggle in Balochistan. The situation has been compounded by infighting between two brothers, Hyryair Marri and Mehran Marri. The Marri tribe has a history of struggle against foreign occupiers including Pakistan, which Balochistan nationalists say occupied their homeland on March 27, 1948, seven months after British left India divided. The BJP victory in India has rekindled hopes that India will support the Baloch freedom movement, lock, stock and barrel, like it once did in former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, though no official pronouncement to that effect has been made from New Delhi so far.