The Karachi blast near the Confucius Institute has rattled the country with its harrowing details. According to reports, the explosion killed 3 Chinese language teachers and their Pakistani driver and injured 4 others nearby. Karachi University identified the victims as Ding Mupeng, Huang Guiping, Chen Sa, and Khalid.
Balochistan separatist group BLA (Baloch Liberation Army) claimed responsibility for the attack and confirmed that it attacked the minibus carrying Chinese nationals with the help of a female militant. They identified the bomber as Sharan Baloch, aka Shari Baloch, aka Bramash and called her the first female suicide bomber. The group heavily opposes Chinese investment in Balochistan, claiming that it doesn’t benefit the local community.
In CCTV footage, a woman in a burqa can be seen waiting patiently at the corner of the road outside the University’s entrance. Then just as the minibus carrying Chinese faculty arrives at the scene, the woman detonates the bomb.
Karachi Blast by a Woman Bomber Leaves Everyone Speechless
The woman who pulled the trigger in the Karachi blast was nothing short of a hero for the separatist group. BLA claimed that it activated Bramash to target Chinese nationals in Pakistan specifically. After learning about her social status and academic accomplishments, the incident became more shocking for the public.
The fact that someone like Shari Baloch would take part in as grotesque as a suicide attack has been bothering many. It has been difficult for people to understand what led her to join the Baloch armed resistance. However, she has long been a devoted member of the Baloch Students Organization (BSO-Azad).
On the other hand, many also condemned the attack that killed Chinese teachers. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif vowed to bring justice to the perpetrators. He called it a “cowardly act of terrorism”.
Who Was the Bomber?
Shari Baloch was a primary school teacher in the Kech district. She completed her Bachelors in Education (B.Ed) in 2014 and Masters in Education (M.Ed) in 2018. She also completed her Masters in Zoology from the University of Balochistan and MPhil from the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). Shari’s family is also highly educated, well-established, and peaceful. Her father served as a district council member for 3 years and as a director in a government agency. Her husband is a dentist, while her brother-in-law is a lecturer. One of her uncles is a former professor, an author, and a human rights activist. Some reports claimed that she was also a student at this university.
Shari’s Twitter account has also been filled with cryptic messages like she was just here to play a role. The account often shared inspirational quotes from revolutionary leaders like Nelson Mandela and Che Guevara. Recently, a goodbye message was posted from the account just a few minutes after the Karachi blast.
Why are Baloch Separatists Against the Chinese?
Several insurgent groups, including BLA, are vehemently against the operations of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor). China announced this 46 billion USD project in 2015 to expand its influence in Central and South Asia. This corridor would link Balochistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea to China’s Xinjiang region. The plan includes creating roads, rail tracks, and gas pipelines to improve the relationship between China and the Middle East.
The Baloch separatists call this an “imperialist project” and accuse Pakistan of exploiting Balochistan’s natural resources against the locals’ wish to help China. Despite an odd number of development projects, Balochistan is still the poorest province of Pakistan. Baloch rebel groups have been waging an insurgency for decades to sabotage Pakistan-China plans in Balochistan. Pakistani authorities say that these separatists are an “obstacle” in the way of development. Pakistan also launched a military operation in 2005 to respond to the insurgency. The Baloch resistance to claiming independence from Pakistan intensified, especially after the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006. It birthed many rebel groups who repeatedly attacked security forces, state installations in Balochistan, and Chinese nationals working in Pakistan.
The recent Karachi blast adds to the ongoing attacks on the Chinese nationals in Pakistan. In July 2021, at least 9 Chinese engineers working on the Dasu hydropower dam project were killed by a roadside bomb that hit their bus. In the same month last year, armed bikers opened fire on a vehicle carrying 2 Chinese nationals in Karachi. Moreover, in 2018, shooters attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi and killed 4 people, including 2 police officers.