Region of Concern: Pakistan; Iran
Written By Gabriela Peregrino; Edited by Salomon Montaguth and Jennifer Loy
Date: April 1, 2023
Map of Balochistan Province
Event: On Saturday, April 1, Pakistan’s army alleged Iranian attackers killed four of their border patrol soldiers in the Kech District of Balochistan Province along the Pakistan-Iran border. The separatist group Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack in an emailed statement. The nationalist group operates across the border and admits to fighting for more regional resources. BLA is known for attacks on Pakistani security forces and Chinese interests in the region including the mineral-rich Balochistan Province containing the deep water port of Gwadar. The Gwadar port is being developed as part of Beijing’s 65-billion-dollar global infrastructure “Belt and Road” investment in Pakistan. Pakistani authorities are contacting Iran to discuss the prevention of future attacks.
Significance: BLA targeting the Pakistan-Iran border will likely continue in attempts to access profitable minerals of sulfur and coal in the Balochistan province to fund nationalist uprisings. A heightened insurgency will increase mass casualty attacks of military personnel, impairing defense forces as target areas move closer to Gwadar. The decreased military in proximity to Balochistan will likely result in the migration of residents increasing opportunities for BLA takeover of the province. Collateral damage to port infrastructure sustained during insurgency will likely curb Pakistan’s economic growth by delaying trade imports and exports. Pakistan’s bilateral relations with China will likely be jeopardized by the disruption of port development funded by Beijing.
Recommendations: Iran and Pakistan’s discussion of counterterrorism efforts should be timely to limit opportunities for BLA to further conspire against either country. Denouncement of insurgency groups should be broadcasted publicly across national and internal media platforms to reassure Pakistani and Iranian citizens of their safety. Pakistan and Iran should complete an overhaul of border protection to remedy weaknesses and strengthen bilateral security concerns. Pakistan-Iran trade relations should be modified to increase revenue to help finance updated border protections. Pakistan should revisit international development contracts with China for the Belt and Road investment to discuss preventive measures of deadline extensions and fund reallocation for port safety and security.
“Districts of Balochistan, Pakistan with district names” by Abbasi786786 licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
 Pakistan army says 'terrorists' from Iran side kill four soldiers, Reuters, April 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/pakistan-army-says-terrorists-iran-side-kill-four-soldiers-2023-04-01/