Baluchistan, Pakistan
Baluchistan, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - A paramilitary convoy has come under a rocket attack in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, leaving at least five people dead and six others wounded, according to local officials and hospital sources.

The ambush occurred Monday in Turbat, a remote volatile district in Baluchistan.

The insurgent Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), which is fighting for an independent Baluchistan, claimed it was behind the attack on the convoy.

The newly-elected provincial chief minister, Abdul Qudus Bizenjo, condemned the violence, saying terrorists are conducting such activities to undermine development in his impoverished province.

Baluchistan is at the center of billions of dollars in investment that China is undertaking in Pakistan to build rail, road and communication networks and power plants.

An estimated $62 billion investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, will link the two countries through a new trade route.

The corridor will give China’s landlocked western regions access to international markets through Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar, which is located in Baluchistan. However, militant attacks in the province pose security challenges to CPEC. 

Pakistani authorities have trained and deployed thousands of troops along the CPEC route to ensure protection of the massive project and Chinese nationals working on them.

Pakistan alleges rival India is supporting and funding the militants to try to subvert the Chinese investment.

New Delhi denies the charges, although it openly opposes CPEC, saying it passes through the disputed Kashmir territory, which both India and Pakistan claim in its entirety.

Islamabad dismisses India’s objections over CPEC.