Failed Suicide Bomb Plot Puts Beijing On High Alert

( On Monday, Pakistani police thwarted a would-be suicide bomber who was planning to blow up a convoy of Chinese nationals along the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Police arrested the women in the southwestern Balochistan province that borders Iran and Afghanistan. The militant is a member of the separatist group Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) which recently began using women as suicide bombers as a way to avoid detection by Pakistani counterterrorism.

Police recovered explosives and detonators from the woman at the time of her arrest. And after investigating her, they discovered her plan to target a convoy of Chinese nationals.

Monday’s arrest comes just two weeks after a woman blew herself up on a university campus in the port city of Karachi in southern Pakistan. That suicide bombing killed three Chinese teachers and their Pakistani driver. The Karachi suicide bomber was also a member of the Baloch Liberation Army.

China, which is a close ally of Pakistan, has invested over $65 billion in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, an infrastructure project that is part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative seeking road and sea trade routes connecting China with the rest of the world.

As part of the CPEC, Beijing is developing the deep-water port in Gwadar city in the Balochistan province.

The Baloch Liberation Army has been fighting for decades to gain a larger share in regional mine and mineral resources. To that end, the group attacks gas plants, infrastructure, and security forces. Chinese interests have also come under attack by the militants, who say China’s involvement in the region amounts to an occupation of their land and resources under the guise of “development.”

The BLA’s attacks against Chinese nationals have increased since the Taliban captured Kabul in August of last year. Pakistan has accused the Taliban of allowing BLA to use Afghanistan to both train and plan its attacks. The Taliban have denied the accusation.

Islamabad has also accused its enemy, neighboring India, of backing the Balochistan separatists as well. This accusation has also been denied by the Indian government.