RAW Targets China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

18 May

By Sajjad Shaukat

On May 13, this year, at least 45 people were killed and several injured after gunmen brutally opened fire on a bus of the Ismaili community near Safoora Chowrangi area of Karachi. The deadly terror-attack resulted into countrywide day of mourning, closure of shops and institutes in Karachi and other areas of Sindh including a complete shutter-down strike by Ismaili community in Hunza.

Without any doubt, Karachi bus incident is a handy work of Indian secret agency RAW to sabotage the China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC) by showing that if Pakistan government is not able to provide security to its citizens, how can it protect CPEC. Ismailis belong to Hunza (Gilgit/Baltistan) or have a spiritual linkage with this area, are Pakistanis. The CPEC would also originate from the same region.

It is notable that during the recent visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pakistan, on April 20, 2015, he and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed 51 agreements for cooperation in various fields, related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan like the Suez Canal which changed the destiny of Egypt when Israel returned it to the former. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Gwadar project will not only uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan by providing thousands of employment opportunities and is likely to develop whole the province by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in the province would trickle down to the Baloch people and damp the separatist sentiments, which the hostile elements, supported by anti-Pakistan powers do not want.

The ink on China-Pakistan agreements—CPEC was barely dry when western media, especially RAW started playing up the Baloch insurgency. In this regard, the director of The Second Floor (T2F), a social activist Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Karachi on April 24—followed by a bomb blast in Sibi, which killed several persons on April 26. However, she had left T2F after attending the session on Balochistan, when she was targeted. She was likely to conduct a seminar at LUMS in Lahore about Balochistan. No doubt, RAW is behind the assassination of Sabeen Mahmud-a well thought-out plan not only to try to sabotage Pak-China alliance, but also to accuse Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Another aim was also to drive a wedge between Balochistan and rest of Pakistan.

However, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, leaders of various political parities and religious parties including members of civil societies have strongly condemned the Karachi massacre in the bus and have shown solidarity with Ismaili community. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a high-level meeting in Karachi, in which Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and other political leaders also participated. Prime Minister Sharif said about the bus attack that Karachi is Pakistan’s economic and trading hub and “the enemies of Pakistan do not like the economic progress of the country. To put a stop to Pakistan’s economic progress is their agenda.” Next day, he remarked that some local elements and foreign forces are creating hurdles in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor programme which is vital for progress and development of Pakistan.

Taking serious note of the Safoora Chowrangi bus assault, on May 14, while showing his determination to eliminate all terrorists in the city, Gen. Raheel Sharif held a high-level meeting of military officials and security agencies at the Corp Headquarters in Karachi. He vowed to bring terrorists behind the Karachi attack to justice including their facilitators and sympathizers.

Besides, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who also condemned the bus massacre, urged Pakistan to move quickly to protect religious minorities. It was another aim of India to distort Pakistan’s image abroad.

It is mentionable that Ahmed Marwat, a spokesman for Jundullah which is the affiliated group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the bus attack. The group which started off from South Waziristan has targetted Shia minorities and foreign tourists in the past as well. In November, last year, it had pledged support to the ISIS or Daesh.

In fact, RAW wanted to divert attention from its sinister designs by targeting the innocent persons in the bus. In this respect, on May 14, Pakistan’s Foreign Office denied existence of global terror outfit Daesh, also known as Islamic State, in Pakistan. The FO Spokesperson Qazi Khalil Ullah said security forces of Pakistan were ready to meet any threat regarding the terror outfit. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry pointed out that Indian RAW was behind terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Nevertheless, the probe team, comprising of security agencies has found clear evidence of Indian RAW involvement in Safora Chorangi incident in Karachi. They arrested the suspected terrorists, after their phone calls were traced—showed that RAW was involved in the incident, while some leaders and media analysts also stated that the RAW is behind the bus carnage.

Recall, when during the Musharraf regime, Islamabad initiated the construction of Gwadar deep-seaport in Balochistan in March 2002 with Chinese assistance, sirens went off in the capitals of foreign countries, especially the US, India and Israel which took it as a threat to their global and regional plans.

Notably, besides Balochistan’s ideal strategic location, its abundant mineral resources like gas, coal and gold, entailing Pakistan’s close ties with China also pinches the eyes of the US, India, Israel and some western countries which intend to destabilize Pakistan for their collective aims.

Therefore, major challenge to Pak-China strategic alliance is that RAW has well-established its network in Afghanistan, and with the tactical assistance of anti-Pakistan secret agencies, it is fully backing cross-border incursions including terror-activities in Balochistan province and other regions of Pakistan, and is also destabilizing China and Iran. It has continuously been assisting the Baloch anti-Pakistan groups like BLA, Jundullah and TTP including their affiliated outfits with logistic support—the militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province and other areas of Pakistan through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings and sectarian violence to create lawlessness in the country. In the past few years, they abducted and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their subversive acts.

The major purpose behind is to create unrest in Pakistan, especially Balochistan and to discourage Beijing for the development of Gwadar port. In this context, in May, 2013, a day before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Islamabad; Chinese engineers being driven through Clifton Block-1 in Karachi escaped a major bomb attack. Taking note of the foreign powers’ anti-Pakistan designs, during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Islamabad made extraordinary security arrangements.

It is worth-mentioning that unlike the Indian-backed Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President Ashraf Ghani realized that Afghanistan and Pakistan are facing similar challenges of terrorism and will combat this threat collectively. Besides, Islamabad’s proposal to offer security and defence cooperation to Afghanistan was received positively. Both the countries desire to further strengthen bilateral relations in all areas of mutual interest. Now, frequent visits of Pak-Afghan civil and military leaders to each other’s country also irritate New Delhi.

It is noteworthy that that Gen. Raheel accompanied by the DG of ISI, went to Kabul on December 17, 2014. During his meeting with his Afghan counterpart, President Ashraf Ghani and the ISAF commander, he presented the evidence of linkage between the massacre of children at Peshawar school and TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan. He also asked about action against the TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah and his network which is being assisted by India.

Taking cognizance of Indian secret function, now, Afghan government and US which now want stability in Afghanistan have started taking action against the TTP. A number of TTP militants have been captured in Afghanistan, while Fazlullah survived in a drone attack.

Nonetheless, besides other external secret agencies, particularly RAW which has accelerated terrorism activities in Pakistan to target China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is behind Karachi bus attack.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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