MONDAY’S bomb attack targeting paramilitary personnel in Karachi left one Rangers official martyred and injured several people including members of the force. Though it is too early to say whether this incident signals the return of militancy to Karachi, the group that has claimed responsibility for the attack has also been behind several previous such incidents in the city.
In 2018, militants of the Balochistan Liberation Army attempted to enter the Chinese consulate but were thwarted by security officials. Last year, it was behind an attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange building, in which two security guards and a policeman were martyred.
In this week’s attack, it appears the bomb was planted in a motorcycle and detonated via remote control as a Rangers vehicle passed by — indicating that the area had been surveilled and that the attack was planned.Though the previous attacks were foiled by a rapid and effective response from security forces, there is still a need for better intelligence gathering and vigilance.
CCTV footage and evidence from the attack site should offer some clues to investigators, who must dedicate resources to getting more information in order to thwart the group’s future plans. The BLA time and again has signalled its intent to attack both security forces and Chinese-backed projects, citing its grievances with China’s involvement in Balochistan. It has claimed responsibility for some gruesome attacks on FC personnel in Balochistan, and has also carried out an attack on a hotel in Gwadar.
As security and intelligence officials collect more information, it is worth noting that the BLA is part of a handful of armed resistance groups in Balochistan who for years have run an insurgency in the name of fighting for a greater share of resources in the province. Alongside counterterrorism operations, it is important for the authorities to address the grievances of disgruntled Baloch people to put an end to the bloody militancy that has hurt both the economy and the objective of peace in the country.