On April 18, 2019, at least 14 passengers were shot down by 15-20 militants after offloading 16 passengers from buses on Makran Coastal Highway in Ormara, Balochistan. Headed towards Gwadar from Karachi, the buses were stopped at Buzi Pass, where the passengers were disembarked. The deceased passengers that include security forces personnel were shot down after identifying them with the help of their National Identity Cards. Baloch Raaji Ajoi Sangar (BRAS) or Baloch National Freedom Front has claimed responsibility for the tragic attack. While claiming responsibility for the attack, BRAS spokesperson Baloch Khan forewarned of much severe attacks in future if Pakistan and China don’t withdraw its forces from Balochistan.
Launched in November 2018, BRAS is a coalition of three Baloch sub-nationalist groups which are as follows:
- Splinter faction of Baloch Liberation Army (headed by Afghanistan-based Bashirzeb Baloch)
- Balochistan Liberation Front
- Baloch Republican Guards
The main objective behind the formation of BRAS is ‘unification and consolidation of the national strength is the only way forward to get rid of Pakistani occupation of Balochistan.’ The coalition came into existence to launch coordinated attacks against Pakistani military, Chinese interests in Balochistan and CPEC sites.
On 30th October 2017, BLA splinter faction, which was then headed by Bashirzeb Baloch’s predecessor Aslam Baloch, and BLF formed an alliance. BRG joined the alliance on 20th April 2018. The formal announcement of the coalition was announced on 10th November 2018. Aslam Baloch is credited for materialising the alliance.
The cumulative strength of the coalition is unknown; however, the strength is estimated to be more than 1,000. According to Baloch sub-nationalist groups Terrorism Atlas, CSCR’s internal database documenting activities of Baloch sub-nationalist groups, the coalition has so far claimed responsibility for at least three terror attacks in which 24 people have been killed and 14 others were injured. No significant information is available in public domain regarding the collaboration mechanism maintained by three outfits under BRAS umbrella. BRAS initially maintained its presence on Twitter with @BrasRaajiSanger which is currently suspended. Its current official Twitter handle is @BRAS_Media.
Fahad Nabeel is currently pursuing M.Phil in International Relations from National Defence University. He has graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Virtual University of Pakistan. Fahad has considerably researched on regional geo-political issues and militancy trends. Currently, he is working as a Senior Research Associate at CSCR.