International

Inclusion in U.S. terror list unjustified: Baloch Liberation Army

The inclusion of the Baloch Liberation Army in the Specially Designated Nationals List of the United States is unjustified, a spokesperson of the organisation has said in a statement. The statement came a day after the U.S. Treasury included the armed group, which operates in Balochistan, in the list.

“BLA is a moderate, secular and an armed defence organisation. BLA is resisting on its motherland against foreign intruders to protect its people. The international laws allow any person or nation to act in self-defence. The U.S. State Department’s ban on BLA is beyond comprehension and unjustified,” a statement issued by BLA spokesperson Jiyand Baloch declared.

BLA remains a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2006 and in recent times has carried out several attacks in the country.

Lauding the U.S. move, Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a statement,  "BLA remains a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2006 and in recent times has carried out several attacks in the country."

The U.S. action against the BLA came weeks after the outfit claimed responsibility for an attack on a five-star hotel in Gwadar. The May 11 attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel of Gwadar left at least five dead and several injured. Gwadar port is part of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor project and has emerged as a hub of international activities led by China.

The BLA has been at the forefront of armed militancy in the region for years and is believed to have 6,000 cadre spread across Pakistan’s Balochistan province and in bordering areas of Afghanistan. In 2017, a group of labourers was targeted by Baloch militants. The attack that led to several casualties was initially blamed on the BLA, though subsequently it was blamed on a splinter group.

The BLA is the oldest and largest militant movement in the province, which is in focus due to a confrontation between the Pakistan military and the rebels of the province who are seeking freedom. The BLA rebels claim that Pakistan has been exploiting the rich resources of the province without due share to the locals and the indigenous Baloch tribes.

In recent years, the BLA has emerged as a movement that has created network in both urban and rural areas of Balochistan and has created a space for itself away from the traditional hold of the sardars or chieftains of tribes.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 5:50:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/inclusion-in-us-terror-list-unjustified-baloch-liberation-army/article28270090.ece

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