Security risks and costs of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are rising amid a resurgence of the deadly attacks by separatists in the troubled Balochistan province, home to the Chinese-operated Gwadar Port, a report in Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said on Saturday.
In the third such attack since May, militants opened fire on a patrolling paramilitary convoy in Panjgur district on Tuesday, killing three soldiers and wounding eight others, including an army colonel. Militant ethnic Baloch factions have also recently expanded their range of operations to adjoining Sindh province and its provincial capital Karachi, according to the report.
Beijing’s stakes in Sindh are as high as they are in resource-rich Balochistan, it said.
“Baloch groups have not only intensified their attacks but also expanded the outreach of their terrorist violence beyond Balochistan, but it is hard to predict whether this trend will persist,” Mohammad Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, an Islamabad-based think tank, told the Post.
Beijing’s political risks are also escalating because of a renewed wave of public anger in many parts of Balochistan against human rights abuses by Pakistani troops deployed to crush the low-intensity insurgency in the province, the report said.