Baloch leader condemns Pakistan's Azm-e-Istehkam operation, alleges Chinese influence

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
3 Min Read

United Kingdom-based Baloch political leader Harbyar Marri has strongly criticised Pakistan's military operation known as Azm-e-Istehkam in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

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Marri, known for his advocacy for Baloch independence, alleged that the campaign was being carried out on orders from China to protect its economic interests in Pakistan.

“Pakistan, at the behest of China, is planning a new military operation against the Baloch and Pashtuns, known as Azmelastehkam (Resolve for Stability). This is Azm-e-Istehkam for China and Punjab, not for the Baloch and Pashtun people,” Marri wrote on X.

He criticised the operation, saying it was benefiting “Punjabi hegemony” while spreading “chaos and death” in Balochistan and Pashtunistan.

Marri also expressed concern over the participation of Pashtuns in the Pakistani military, alleging that they were being used to suppress the aspirations of their own people.

He urged them to prioritise the security of their homeland, Pashtunistan, instead of serving Punjabi interests.

The military operation has been widely condemned by the Baloch and Pashtun communities, who have historically opposed Islamabad's authority and expressed grievances over issues including sovereignty and rights.

These areas, which have witnessed unrest over the years, have been the focal point of resistance against Chinese investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

China's massive investments in Pakistan, especially in infrastructure projects in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, have faced opposition from local people.

Incidents such as the recent attack on a convoy of Chinese engineers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which resulted in several casualties, underline the security challenges facing Chinese citizens in the region.

During recent high-level visits between Pakistani and Chinese officials, including Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Army Chief General Asim Munir, security of Chinese interests in Pakistan figured prominently in discussions.

Senior Chinese official Liu Jianchao reiterated the importance of protecting Chinese investments and personnel in the country.

As tensions rise, hashtags such as #ExpansionistChinalnstigatingBalochAndPashtunGenocide and #StopBalochAndPashtunGenocide have become popular on social media, reflecting growing international attention to the situation.

The situation remains fluid as stakeholders deal with complex geopolitical dynamics amid ongoing protests and security challenges in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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