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US Declares Balochistan Liberation Army As A Terrorist Organisation

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WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday declared Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a terrorist group. The said group has been fighting the Pakistani forces for years in the province of Balochistan and was declared as a proscribed group in 2006.

The same group was involved in an attack on Chinese Consulate in Karachi last year. The development comes in as the US State Department designates BLA as a global terrorist group. This will bar any US citizen to assist BLA militants and US authorities may freeze the organization’s assets too.

According to the State Department, “The BLA is an armed separatist group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in ethnic Baloch areas of Pakistan.”

It further added that “The outfit has carried out several terrorist attacks in the past year, including a suicide attack in August 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in Balochistan, a November 2018 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, and a May 2019 attack against a luxury hotel in Gwadar,”

The recent wave of attacks by BLA was primarily carried out in a bid to prevent Chinese authorities from operating in Pakistan in general and Balochistan in particular.

Senator Sarfaraz Bugti, who hails from the Balochistan Awami Party and held a cabinet portfolio in the previous government congratulated the people of Balochistan after the State department’s declaration.

Bugti reiterated Pakistan’s stance to act against Brahmdad Bugti who heads the organisation from Switzerland.

People privy to matters pertaining to Balochistan are terming the State department’s decision as a victory for Pakistan on the diplomatic front. It will help Pakistan to build its case against such organizations and subsequent assistance by international agencies.

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Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued a statement followed by the State Department’s decision.

“It is hoped that this designation will ensure that BLA’s space to operate is minimized,” the statement read.

“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.”

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