US designates Balochistan Liberation Army as global terrorist organisation
The United States administration on Tuesday designated the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), militants fighting the Pakistani government in Balochistan, as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).
The recent development has come after the banned outfit carried out attacks targeting Chinese interests in the province.
“The BLA is an armed separatist group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in Balochistan. The BLA has carried out several terrorist attacks (recently), including a suicide attack in August 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in the province, a November 2018 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, and a May 2019 attack against a luxury hotel in Gwadar,” said the US State Department in an announcement, which will freeze the organisations assets in the US, if any, and outlaw any kind of assistance extended to the militants.
The banned organization targeted Chinese consulate in Karachi in November last year leaving four people dead. While, at least five people including a soldier were killed in the gun attack at the Gwadar hotel in May this year. The BLA had claimed responsibility for both the attacks and warned China of more attacks if it continued “exploitative” projects.
Taking note of the US’s designation of the BLA as global terrorist organization, the Foreign Office of Pakistan stated, “It is hoped that this designation will ensure that BLA’s space to operate is minimized.”
BLA remains a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2006.
“It is important that the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and external sponsors including those glorifying these acts of terror against Pakistan are held accountable and brought to justice,” said the FO.
The BLA was formed in earlier years of 1970s, during the government of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.