US declares Balochistan Liberation Army a terrorist group
WASHINGTON: The United States has designation Baloch militant group Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) a terrorist organisation in a move that will help improve ties between Islamabad and Washington.
The major development comes just weeks before the maiden visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the United States.
The US Department of State has designated the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Hizballah operative Husain Ali Hazzima as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.
Additionally, the Department of State has amended the terrorist designations of Jundallah to reflect the group’s new primary name Jaysh al-Adl and associated aliases.
These aliases have been added to the group’s designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and as an SDGT under E.O. 13224. The Department has also reviewed and maintained the FTO designation of Jundallah. Today’s actions seek to deny Hazzima, BLA, and Jaysh al-Adl the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks.
All of their property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.
- Husain Ali Hazzima is the Chief of Hizballah Unit 200. Hizballah was designated as an FTO in 1997 and as an SDGT in 2001. Unit 200 is the Intelligence Unit of Hizballah, and it analyzes and assesses information collected by Hizballah military units.
- BLA is an armed separatist group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in ethnic Baloch areas of Pakistan.
- BLA has carried out several terrorist attacks in the past year, including a suicide attack in August 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in Balochistan, a November 2018 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, and a May 2019 attack against a luxury hotel in Gwadar, Balochistan.
- Jundallah, which was designated as an FTO and SDGT in 2010, began using the new name Jaysh al-Adl and associated aliases in 2012. Since its inception, the group has engaged in numerous attacks that have killed scores of Iranian civilians and government officials, including a February 2019 suicide bombing and the October 2018 kidnapping of Iranian security personnel.
Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that Hazzima and BLA have committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism, and that Jundallah, having adopted the new name Jaysh al-Adl, continues to engage in terrorism that threatens the national security of the United States.
Terrorist designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of U.S. agencies and other governments.