A major disaster was averted when four terrorists were gunned down by swift response by the Rapid Response Force of Sindh Police in the attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi. The large cache of weapons, explosives and food recovered from the attackers shows that they had planned a long siege and to inflict heavy loss of life. Fortunately, they were prevented from entering the premises which had over 6,000 people working yesterday, and neutralised during the attempt.

Initial reports suggest that the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has taken responsibility for the attack. The selection of the target by the attackers suggests that they wanted to send a clear message: any high-profile target can be attacked at will and Pakistan is not safe for business. However, the exemplary response by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) foiled their plans and humiliated them by finishing off the miscreants within 8 minutes, not allowing them to achieve any of their objectives. Through their rapid response, the LEAs reinforced confidence amongst people as well as boosting their own morale to fight off any future attempts. As far as business is concerned, trading did not stop for a single minute and the market remained stable.

The geopolitical dispensation of South Asia means that such incidents may occur from time to time. With Pakistan and China fully committed to CPEC and its related developments in the province of Balochistan, separatists and their patrons will do whatever is in their power to create hurdles. For this, the schemers in New Delhi will continue to recruit and exploit disenfranchised Baloch and use them for their own ends. To deny them this pool of recruits, Pakistan should make the Baloch equal partners in CPEC and ensure that the dividends from economic progress reach Baloch communities. The best way a state can win loyalty from citizens is by serving them. If they see that the state is striving for their welfare, they will be less vulnerable to external influence. Hardened separatists should be isolated, and justice be provided to genuinely aggrieved parties. That is the only way forward for sustainable peace.