Almost 200 days back, there was a lull in affairs. Security outlook was normal. From Gwadar, gateway to CPEC, flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to mega city of Karachi, commercial hub of Pakistan, overall situation had been flowing as usual.

All of sudden terror raged. Barrage of violence engulfed CPEC’s key areas including Gawadar, Quetta and Karachi with suicide bombing, blast and gun showdowns. Even Lahore, capital of Punjab where hundreds of Chinese keeps pouring in for business opportunities and where China has recently established its consulate, suffered a terror attack at historical Shrine Data Gunj Buksh.

In these series of attacks, more than 50 people including personnel of security agencies died and many got injured since November 23. 2018. From that day till date nefarious waves are on rise triggering unrest in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab where most of Chinese projects are underway.

Given the alarming situation, remodelling of security mechanism is dire need of hour to safeguard CPEC, central pillar of Belt and Road Initiative. The desired security mechanism may entail central command and control system with integration of all military and civilian law enforcement agencies under one roof in a bid to prevent coordination hitches and ensure prompt deliverance of performance. Innovative security projects may be hashed out to dispel future terrorist attacks.

Technically speaking, Pakistan has developed many forces to protect CPEC and its routes but security challenges, lack of coordination and funds have hampered their natural strength of services.

According to report of PIPS, in 2016 Special Security Division (SSD) and Task Force-88 for its maritime security were raised to protect Chinese engineers, project directors, experts and workers employed on various Chinese-funded projects across Pakistan. The SSD was initially planned, in the year 2015, to have a force of 15,500 troops comprising six infantry brigades with each brigade having three infantry.

Report said that the SSD, consisting of 9 composite infantry battalions and 6 civil armed forces wings was formed at the cost of over Rs23 billion The government spent Rs5.8 billion to raise 6 SSD wings of civilian armed forces with the minimum strength of 4,502.

According to the plan, the anticipated total strength of the SSD was to be raised to around 32,000, at second stage, including over 13,000 troops raised by 2016, and the remaining to be raised from different other forces in different regions.

On the civilian side, Special Protection Unit (SPU) was developed in 2014. It got assisted by different police and security forces like Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Elite Police Force (EPF), Quick Response Force (QRF) and Special Protection Unit (SPU).

Recently a new division comprising two parts is being raised in Islamabad. One part will be assigned to protect Chinese officials working on CPEC and other foreigners.

After recent spate of terrorism, in an interview with Xinhua news agency, ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor announced for deploying another division to protect CPEC.

Chinese experts believe that new spate of terrorism seems to be outburst of utter frustration of agents of chaos after they failed to dent Pak-China relations and derail CPEC which has now entered into its most critical and second phase of industrialization and in the field of agro-technology, socio-economic and high-tech skill development.

Desperation is conspicuous with the fact that before and after Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s two trips to China, terror monstrosity was let loose.

From November 2, 2018 PM Imran Khan made his first official visit as head of state to China. He called on Chinese President Xi Jinping and discussed all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China. Same month after 18 days, Chinese consulate Karachi was stormed by armed-assailants. Attempt was foiled eventually.

Because on 25 April, 2019 Premier Imran Khan had to pay his second visit to China to attend 2nd Belt and Road Forum with his scheduled meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other high-ranked officials, Quetta city, a crucial locality for ongoing CPEC western alignment, was rocked when a bomb ripped through vegetable market, Hazar Gunji on April 12. Same day another bomb exploded in Chaman, important city of Balochistan causing tumultuous situation in the region.

Another brazen attack hit hard killing bus passengers on April 18 at Makran Coastal Highway, main artery of CPEC that links up Gwadar Port to Xinjiang, northwest region of China. It was aimed to sabotage commercial and passenger traffic on Makran Coastal Highway as it is sole affordable trade transit route to Afghanistan, China and Land-locked countries of Central Asia to the countries of Middle East and Persian Gulf. Two CPEC shipments had been passed through this route few months back to weigh up practical viability and safety of cargo traffic.

The timings of this bloody carnage and planned targets have deep connotations as all these terrible tragedies occurred few days before PM’s visit to China.

Serious of terrorist activities surged as non-state actors knew that 2nd huddle between both head of states was of high value as it had to anchor future Pak-China relations, CPEC development trajectory and trade volume between both iron friends. The meeting made a way to found special economic zone in KPK and new Free Trade Agreement that promises opening up 90 per cent Chinese market for Pakistani commodities and in return Pakistan will open up 65 percent of Chinese exports.

As there is no let up to terror incidents, on May 10, 2019 Gwadar PC hotel, few yards away from Gwadar Port where a number of Chinese have been working in China Overseas Port Holding Company came under severe attack by intruders. Site got cleared after many hours full-scale operation in a similar style commando operation conducted in 2008 Mumbai attack in India.

Almost 40 days back, Gwadar was bustling with enthusiasm by holding 2nd Gwadar International Expo 2019 that led to attract national and international attentions especially BRI beneficiary countries. The Expo helped global observers to see CPEC going into top gear with foundation stone of Gwadar new international Airport and construction of East Bay Gwadar Express way, a main artery of Gwadar Port through which the entire traffic of port will flow to Makran Coastal Highway till Kashghar. Expo also created global ripples after Prime Minister Imran Khan said a cargo and passenger ferry service would also be launched soon from Gwadar to Karachi that would later be extended to Qatar. Both untoward incidents at Makran Coastal highway and Gwadar PC hotel put a big question mark on security blanket and relevant safety apparatus.

Former Minister for Planning and Interior Ahsan Iqbal raised voice for insufficient security coverage from Gwadar to Karachi during his address in assembly session held in current month.

With no respite in alarming situation, worst security condition intensified further after bomb exploded in mini market of satellite town, Quetta, capital of Balochistan on May 13.

The tense scenario and aggravation are being seen as a part of Western game plan to upset China impairing its dream to improve regional integration through BRI and rejuvenate modernity through mega development plans with level playing field to every player holding the banner of shared destiny. A venomous propaganda campaign is already running amok.

Anti-globalization lobbies are blaming China for running debt-trap diplomacy as loan shark. They are orchestrating concocted stories of concentration camps and atrocity on Muslims in Xinjiang to provoke Islamic world especially Pakistan against Beijing.

Pakistan foreign affairs expert Muhammad Mehdi said that because western world are badly failing to prove their claims, as a last resort CPEC, heart of BRI is on the target.