Earlier this month, Pakistan allegedly conducted a massive military offensive against Baloch rebels in the Bolan region by deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets, and Gunship helicopters, along with SSG Commandos, according to Balochistan Post-English.
The Pakistani military operations were resisted by the Baloch militias, which, in turn, killed two SSG Commandos, however, the use of combat UAVs is new and is continuously increasing. The Balochistan Post-English tweeted that China and Turkey have supplied various models of combat UAVs to Pakistan.
Pakistan received five Cai Hong 4 (Rainbow 4, or CH-4) multirole medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs from China in January 2021. At the time, it was not revealed which variant of the CH-4 drone was acquired by Islamabad.
A Chinese PLA detachment based in Pasni, Gwadar, allegedly helps the Pakistani military operate these CH-4 drones. The Pakistan military has a naval air station at Pasni known as PNS Makran.
According to a recent report of The Balochistan Post, the Human Rights Council of Balochistan received 41 cases of enforced disappearance and thirty cases of extrajudicial executions in Balochistan during October 2022.
China pursues a “strategic strongpoint” concept, whereby its military can use strategically located foreign ports with terminals and commercial zones run by Chinese companies.
Pakistan’s use of combat drones against Baloch insurgents is yet another example of militaries turning to drones for combat after watching the deployment of UAVs in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Pakistan’s CH-4 drones were spotted at a Pakistani airbase close to India’s border in August 2021, as reported by EurAsian Times. Satellite imagery shared by an open-source intelligence showed four CH-4 combat drones at the Bahawalpur airbase in Pakistan’s Punjab province.