BuildingPort Gwadar and Roads Connecting Pakistan and China — Ways Pakistanand China Should Combat Terrorism
Pakistanand China pride themselves on the growing relationship between them.It is noteworthy that the relationship between the two countriestraces to 1950s, having been culminated by the decision of Pakistanto recognize People’s Republic of China (PRC) and terminate therelations within the Republic of China on Taiwan. The two countrieshave since then continued to maintain mutual ties. For instance, PRChas been providing technical, military, and even economic support toPakistan, and both nations have considered the partnership strategic.The diplomatic relationship between the two countries was signed in1950, but military assistance followed later in 1966, followed by theformation of a strategic alliance and economic cooperation in 1972and 1979, respectively1.In 2013, the two countries unveiled a plan for two infrastructuralprojects: the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk RoadEconomic Belt. Part of the China’s goal is to construct Port Gwadarand reduce reliance on Strait of Malacca. Moreover, the project wouldcreate the allowance for establishing pipelines to connect Pakistanand China.
Thetwo countries are committed to accomplishing the project, but severalbulwarks stand on their way. The issue of terrorism is perhaps themost outstanding of all the challenges. Terrorist organizations havebeen opposed to the China and Pakistan occupations in their perceivedterritories. If the two countries carry on the project, they expectdifferent forms of terrorist backlash, especially blowing pipelinesand road infrastructure, kidnapping and killing2.In this regard, the question of particular interest is how China andPakistan can overcome the inherent terrorist challenge regarding thedevelopment of Port Gwadar and the pipeline infrastructure to connectPakistan and China.
Thepurpose of this paper is to recommend the way in which the twocountries can successfully overcome the problem. To be able to meetthe stated purpose, the countries’ past initiatives of combatingthe terrorist challenge is first examined with the hopes ofunderstanding the areas of weaknesses. Consequently, recommendationsare made based on the preceding discussion.
Thepast and the derivative Lessons
A look at the initiatives the two countries have been taking tocombat terrorism activities impeding the underway project revealsthat although the efforts have been objective, they are limited in anumber of ways such that if they are not addressed, they will subvertthe efforts aimed at completing the project. The weaknesses aremanifested by the rampant incidences of terrorist activities directedat the project, characterized by abductions, vandalism ofinfrastructure and killing of workers.
Thefirst attack on the Chinese nationals was evidenced during theMusharraf era, in 2001, when terrorists attacked a Chinese engineerand his team (a driver and his two duty guards) in Baluchistan. Theteam was heading back to the survey area when, on approaching Ambadaarea, their car was hit by a rocket, resulting in the instant deathof the driver and injuries on the rest of the team members. Theinvestigations revealed that Premier Oil Company had been allowed toexplore oil in Sunny Sohan, a move that the terrorist group opposed.Therefore, the aim of the attack was to coerce the company fromcarrying on the project. Nevertheless, the attack was a demonstrationagainst the Pakistan-China relationship. General Pervez Musharraf,the then chief executive officer, directed the Baluchistan Governorto use all the means, including deploying the civil and militaryforce to arrest the terror perpetrators. General Pervez Musharrafalso demanded the concerned authorities to initiate full-scaleoperations to end terrorist activities within the area3.
In2003, another terrorist attack was reported. In this incident, theterrorist had attempted to kidnap two engineers returning fromconstruction duty at Gomal Zam Dam. However, the attack turned outunsuccessful because the driver had spotted the terrorists andcleverly sped off to save the engineers from being held hostage. InMay 2004, however, armed terrorists succeeded in attacking a vehiclecarrying Chinese engineers contracted to work at Port Gwadar. Theengineers were travelling to their workplace when the terroristsslowed down their vehicle and bombed. As a result, three engineerslost their lives on the spot, while the rest (eleven members and thedriver) were seriously injured. The attack had attracted publicoutcry and, in response, President General Pervez Musharraf condemnedthe act of violence and assured the China that Pakistan was going to“do utmost in providing every assistance and treatment to thoseinjured” and “…will leave no stone unturned to apprehend theculprits, who will be given the most severe punishment”4.Kong Quan, the Chinese spokesperson, urged the Pakistan government tocollaborate and find the cause of the explosion, and arrest thepersons responsible as the measure of assuring security to theChinese nationals working in the country. Kong Quan also said Chinawas going to send its team to help Pakistan in investigating theissue, while Li Zhoaxing, the Chinese foreign minister, assuredPakistan that terrorists will not succeed in their goals, and thatChina was fully committed to ensuring that the project was completedsuccessfully5.
InOctober 2004, another terrorist attack took place, and this wasdirected at the team of engineers of China National Water Resourcesand Hydro Power Engineering Group Co-operation who had beencontracted to work on Gomal Zam Dam. A gang of terrorists, led byAbdullah Mehsud, a Guantanamo detainee who had just been released,abducted two Chinese engineers, including their driver and theirguard. President General Pervez Musharraf had taken the incidentseriously and ordered the Governor of Khyber and the Minister ofInterior to initiate the efforts of securing the release of theabducted members immediately, a terrorist action he condemned as adeliberate move of disturbing the China-Pakistan relations. MushaidHussain, the Secretary-General of Pakistan Muslim League, alsocondemned the incidence, assuring China that this would not affectthe relationship the two countries were enjoying. However, thenegotiations with the kidnappers fell through, resulting in themilitary operations to secure the abducted persons. The operationsresulted in the rescue, but one of the engineers succumbed toinjuries incurred in the course of the operations. Chaudhry AmirHussain, the National Assembly Speaker, felt sorry for the death, butstated clearly that Pakistan had done its best to secure the releaseof its engineers6.It was reported that the Chinese company contracted to build GomalZam Dam had suspended its operations temporarily. China alsoexpressed concerns that the continued abductions and killings byterrorists directed at Chinese nationals working in Pakistan wasbecause of security loopholes that needed to be addressed, yet italso acknowledged that part of the incident was a conspiracymotivated by the forces that opposed to the strategic partnership andinfluence of China on Pakistan. Consequently, China asked Pakistan tostep up security for its nationals. In November 2005, the terroristsagain struck by firing five rockets towards the Chinese workers camplocated in Tallar, Gawdar. The attack happened when the Chineseengineers were busy working on the Tubat-Gawdar section ofGwadar-Rato Dero highway. The attack destroyed several vehicles inthe parking, but did not hurt any worker at the construction site7.
In2006, at the onset of PresidentGeneral Pervez Musharraf’s planned visit to Japan, terroristattacked and shot three Chinese engineers working at Hub,Baluchistan. The team of engineers was on its way home from work atAttock Cement factory when the terrorists on two motorcyclistsattacked them. The engineers were reportedly without the company ofan armed guard or the police. The Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA)had claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting it was a warningto the outsiders to desist from engaging in exploiting minerals inthe region. In essence, the Baluchistan Liberation Army indicatedthat the attack was part of the groups struggle against the Chineseand Pakistan relationship, which was at the center of the efforts ofcontinued exploitation of minerals. The attacks were blamed on twopossible causes. First was that the development would create theallowance for the local people to rise above the poverty problem andbecome aware of their rights, a development that would threaten theinfluence of the Sardars. Therefore, the Sardars considered thedevelopment as a threat to warrant them to take actions to preventthe ongoing projects. Second was that the United States was aware theregion was endowed with mineral resources, which it wanted to benefitand it did not want China to get its way8.In fact, China had been aware of the United States’ plan ofseparating Baluchistan province and merging it with Iran’sBaluchistan region to form a state.
Theyear 2007 also evidenced continued terrorism activities directed atChina-Pakistan relationships, evidenced by attacks on Chinesenationals working in Pakistan. For instance, in June 2007, severalChinese women and a man were abducted from a massage parlor inIslamabad. In July, three Chinese nationals contracted to work atAuto rickshaw factory were shot dead by unidentified terroristgangs9.In September 2007, a group of armed individuals riding on a motorbikeopened fired attacked a convoy of Chinese engineers headed to work atKachhi Canal near Rajanpur. The terrorist activities have continuedescalating over time, and some incidences have even been extended toChina’s soil. Examples of such attacks include Kumming attack thatresulted in the loss of 29 lives and injury of over 143 people10.
Insummary, over ten Chinese nationals contracted to work on differentprojects in Pakistan lost their lives because of terrorist attacks,and several others were either injured or successful escaped attacks.The year 2004 was the worst, registering the highest number ofkillings. Secondly, although the China was concerned about thesecurity challenge its people faced, it acknowledged that Pakistanwas doing its best to protect them. In this regard, Chinese companiescould not withdraw from the operations. On course of all theseattacks, Pakistan was always quick to condemn the attacks and evenoffered the personnel to provide security. Apart from the Sardars’occupations, the attacks were blamed on foreign involvement andinterference. Therefore, the motives for the terrorist attacks can becategorized into three. One of the motives was to destroy therelationships between China and Pakistan and, thereby, reduce theinvolvement of China in the economic development of Pakistan. Thesecond motive was to reduce Pakistan’s economic dependency on Chinaas a way of maintaining its dependency on the West. The last motivewas to prevent Chinese from accessing the Indian Ocean. As a way ofcombating terrorism, the two countries embraced several securitymeasures, which include establishing a Joint Task Force, creating themilitary anti- terrorism exercise, and signing the anti-terrorismcombat accord. However, the fact that these efforts have notprevented the continued attacks essentially implies there is stillmuch more than needs to be done.
Assessingthe Way Forward
Certainly,a look at the incidents of terrorism creates the allowance to infertwo points. First is that terrorist incidences will continue to growand that, seemingly, nothing is going to stop the perpetrators fromtrying to carry on their activities, if not Pakistan and Chinarelenting by backing down their diplomatic relationships,partnerships and strategic alliance. Nevertheless, going by thereports from the government officials, backing down seems the mostunpopular of the presented options. Secondly, the past securitymeasures have been inadequate at addressing terrorism and that thereis a need for the two countries to refocus their efforts to addressthe loopholes. Indeed, now that the two countries consider themselvesas the all-weather friends, they do not have any other option thatcombating impeding terrorism.
A look at the past responses and a review of literature creates theallowance to identify different areas of weaknesses to blame forescalating terrorist attacks. The most notable of these weaknesseshas been complacency. As Anishobserves,the problem with Pakistan and China’s response to terrorism hasbeen its reactive, other than proactive tendency. In essence, in manycases, the systems have always been waiting for terrorist attacks tohappen before measures can be taken. Nevertheless, even the vibrancyof the measures taken is often so short-lived, paving the way forlaxing and allowing the terrorists to attack once again11.For instance, although there is always the need for police officersto provide security escort to Chinese nationals working in thecontracts, consistency is always lacking and this only enables theterrorist groups to outflank the measures12.
Ithas also been noted that China has been taking a narrow view ofterrorism issues in Pakistan — it has only been calling uponPakistan to crack down of Uighur militants group while overlookingthe nature of the terrorist environment within the region. Inessence, the call from China has tended to overlook the fact thatother terrorist groups, including those that are opposed to India’spolicies exist, exist within Pakistan’s borders. In part, theChina’s focus on Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad as the keyterrorist groups is a manifestation of the hesitance to join othernations in dealing with terrorists as the common problem. China hasbeen committed to propping up Pakistan, a move that has been arguedto particularly demonstrate China’s commitment to maintaining tieswith the Islamabad much more that the China-Pakistan economicdevelopments13.However, for economic development process to be successful, China isconcerned that peace within some regions is critical. In this regard,it would have been expected that China should be on the forefront insupporting the globe in the war against corruption. However, to asignificant extent, China has been ignoring terrorist activitieswithin Pakistan.
Besides,Swamihas noted that security measures that the two countries have beenundertaking, such as establishinga Joint Task Force, creating the military anti- terrorism exercise,and signing the anti-terrorism combat accord are outright, but theyare not all that is required to assure desirable outcomes — someelements such as funding and concerted efforts are always lacking14.In light of this view, it can be argued that the interventionmeasures are not always comprehensive, if not slow to reflect thesecurity needs. Three options are available to enable China andPakistan to address the relationship successfully — militaryoperations, diplomacy, and system design. These options are discussedas follows.
Oneway that China could combat terrorism is by way of militaryoperations against the terrorists. In particular, theoperational approach for anti-terrorist campaign should be proactiveand able to integrate various elements pertaining to success factors,and these include having an understanding of needs of operatingenvironment and deploying resources needed to achieve the end state.This essentially implies that anti-terrorist operation approach willneed to consider all the elements under the PMESIIanalytical framework, and outline center of gravity, criticalvulnerabilities, critical abilities and critical requirements,and allocate resources that would be needed to meet the end state.
Thecommand should acknowledge that the operational approach will becritical for realization of the anti-terrorist campaign’s theaterend stage for three reasons. Firstly, it will provide the foundationfor commander in planning about the staff and other partners involvedin the campaign. Secondly, it will serve as a model forimplementation, monitoring, and evaluation of security campaignoperations. Thirdly, it will provide a better understanding ofoperation environments campaign. Moreover, the operation frameworkshall need to consider a number of elements, including the strengthsand weaknesses of players, the existent threats, and opportunities,actions needed to achieve the desired conditions, and theconsequences of various choices and actions. The desired operationalapproach should be hinged on the how the operational environment andproblem are framed, and which should consider endstate, termination, and center of gravity requirements. The securityteamscould consider critical capabilities (tankers, aircrafts, submarines,tankers and fuel), center of gravity (naval force), criticalrequirements (lines of communication), and critical vulnerability(armed forces) in his operational approach.
Theoperational approach should acknowledge and consider the relationshipbetween direct and indirect interactions between environments, forinstance, how resources and motivation of forces affect success ofanti-terrorist operations. Nevertheless, the operational approachshould be able to tally with available resources, while the processshould iterative to enable the commander to refine the operationalapproach and eliminate undesired effects. Therefore, the commandershould be able to evaluate alternatives and pick up the path thatwould result in the optimal outcomes,while theoperationapproach itself should be one-system approach that considers allcritical elements as interrelated sets, rather than as isolated.
BesidesWesthead hassuggested that several impediments should be considered as potentialconstraints of the anti-terrorist campaign, including resources,national will and excessive causalities and loss of life. Depletionof resources will imply that the forces are unable to usefuel-dependent artilleries such as aircrafts, tankers, warships andsubmarines, which are critical to war. The security operations mighthave to stop because of increased chances of counterattacks anddefeat. The erosion of national will, characterized by decline ofpopular support causes the military operations unwarranted,triggering the need to reconsider continued actions. Lapses inprotections resulting from excessive causalities and loss of livescould also disillusion continued operation, fearing it could escalatecausalities and loss of lives than would have been anticipated onhumanitarian ground15.
Ashas been earlier noted, part of the motives of terrorist is theforeign hands. The West has been particularly blamed. It has beenreported that the United States was aware the region was endowed withmineral resources, which it wanted to benefit and it did not wantChina to get its way. In fact, China had been aware of the UnitedStates’ plan of separating Baluchistan province and merging it withIran’s Baluchistan region to form a state. In this regard, it willnot be possible to deal with terrorism by simply combating. Ifpossible, China and Pakistan should engage the opposing foreignforces through diplomacy. In this case, diplomacy entails negotiatingfor compromise with the opposing foreign nations. It is hoped thatthe diplomatic approach will foster understanding to provide analternative to the use of the military force16.It has been noted that Pakistan has been shielding terroristorganizations, which China has been ignoring in order to maintainbalance its relationships with Pakistan. Therefore, one way in whichChina can be seen to be friendly to the rest of the world is facingthe terrorist issues in Pakistan with openness. Certainly, such amove would create more friends, including the countries that considerit as an enemy.
Besidesthe military operations and diplomatic force, the affected countriesmay consider stepping up border surveillance and embracing the modernsecurity systems that outflank terrorism. The two countries couldcollaborate to achieve this process. There are several initiativesthat could be considered under this component, and these includeincreasing the patrol and escorts to the Chinese nationals working inPakistan, improving intelligence to detect imminent attacks andprevent them from happening, increasing awareness among the people onways avoiding attacks and even employing more security teams to dealwith terrorism issue. Nevertheless, to be able to succeed in the waragainst terrorism, there will be the need for leadership commitment.In fact, it has been widely acknowledged that the buck stops with thegovernment leadership of the two countries. The leadership commitmentwill be a determinant of how the two countries will approach theissue with seriousness.
Inconclusion, the aim of this paper has been to discuss ways that Chinaand Pakistan can overcome the inherent terrorist challenge regardingthe development of Port Gwadar and the pipeline infrastructure toconnect Pakistan and China. To be able to meet the stated purpose,the countries’ past initiatives of combating the terroristchallenge have been first examined, and this was aimed atunderstanding the areas of weaknesses. Consequently, recommendationshave then been based on the preceding discussion.
Anexamination of the initiatives the two countries have been taking tocombat terrorism activities impeding the underway project revealsthat although the efforts have been objective, they are limited in anumber of ways such that if they are not addressed, they will subvertthe efforts aimed at completing the project. These areas ofweaknesses are evidenced by the rampant incidences of terroristactivities directed at the project, characterized by abductions,vandalism of infrastructure and killing of workers. Indeed, duringthe regime of Musharraf era,over ten Chinese nationals contracted to work on different projectsin Pakistan lost their lives because of terrorist attacks, andseveral others were either injured or successfully escaped attacks,while the year 2004 was the worst, registering the highest number ofkillings. These incidences of terrorist attacks have continued tohappen. Ithas also been noted that, whenever these attacks happened, Pakistanand China were always quick to condemn the attacks and even offeredthe personnel to provide security.
Severalmotives of the terrorist attacks have been noted, which can be eitherblamed on Sardars’ apprehension or foreign involvement. Inretrospect, the motives for the terrorist attacks can be categorizedinto three: destroying the relationships between China and Pakistan,reducing Pakistan’s economic dependency on China and preventingChinese from accessing the Indian Ocean. To combat terrorism, the twocountries embraced several security measures, which includeestablishing a Joint Task Force, creating the military anti-terrorism exercise, and signing the anti-terrorism combat accord.However, considering the terrorist attacks have been continual, noneof these efforts can be considered adequate. Pakistan and China areparticularly presented with three options of tackling terrorism.These options include being proactive in waging war against terroristorganizations to end their occupations, seeking diplomaticinterventions to quell the interference from the foreign powers suchas the United States, and implementing new security designs toprevent attacks. It is hoped that these three measures will go a longway in enabling the two countries to address terrorist attacksonce-and-for-all and create the allowance to successfully completethe project while enjoying the relationship.
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3 Anish Mishra. Terrorism in Balochistan: Shift towards Soft Targets?. Institute of South Asian Studies. 2014, pp 34
4 Umbreen Javaid and Javeria Jahangir. Balochistan: A Key Factor in Global Politics. South Asian Studies A Research Journal of South Asian Studies Vol. 30, No.2 December 2015, pp 13
5 Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. Pakistan Security Report. Retrieved from http://pakpips.com/downloads/282.pdf
6 Unsa Jamshed and Massarrat Abid. Terrorism and Sinopak relationships — A Case study of Chinese Nationals as Victims of Chinese Terrorism during Musharraf regime. Pakistan Vision Vol. 16 No. 2, 2012
7 Jamison C. Heinkel and Richard deVillafranca. Could Pakistan Lose Balochistan?Balochistan’s Insurgency and Its Implications for Pakistan and the Region. http://ni-u.edu/research/Balochistan.pdf
8 Unsa Jamshed and Massarrat Abid. Terrorism and Sinopak relationships — A Case study of Chinese Nationals as Victims of Chinese Terrorism during Musharraf regime. Pakistan Vision Vol. 16 No. 2, 2012, pp 34
9 Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. Pakistan Security Report. Retrieved from http://pakpips.com/downloads/282.pdf
10 Anish Mishra. Terrorism in Balochistan: Shift towards Soft Targets?. Institute of South Asian Studies. 2014
11 Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. Pakistan Security Report. Retrieved from http://pakpips.com/downloads/282.pdf
12Anish Mishra. Terrorism in Balochistan: Shift towards Soft Targets?. Institute of South Asian Studies. 2014, pp 3
13Anish Mishra. Terrorism in Balochistan: Shift towards Soft Targets?. Institute of South Asian Studies. 2014, pp 35
14 Frederic Grare. Balochistan:The State Versus The Nation. The Caniege papers, 2014, pp 13
15 Michael Brown, Mohammad Dawod, Arash Irantalab, and Mahmud Naqi. Balochistan Case Study. Retrieved from http://www4.carleton.ca/cifp/app/serve.php/1398.pdf
16 Earopean Asylum Office. EASO Country of Origin Information Report Pakistan Security Situation. 2013. , pp 2 http://www.cgvs.be/sites/default/files/rapporten/easo_country_of_origin_information_report_pakistan._security_situation.pdf