New security plan to cover ‘all Chinese workers’

New measures would cover all Chinese workers working on CPEC and other Beijing-run projects, say sources


Kamran Yousaf July 26, 2021
In second phase of CPEC, there is high focus on social development and projects that are closer to the masses such as health and education. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan will review security arrangements for Chinese nationals working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as other projects after a recent terrorist attack near the Dasu hydropower plant in Kohistan.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, accompanied by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Faiz Hameed, during his visit to Beijing informed the Chinese authorities about the review of security arrangements and new measures that were being put in place to prevent Dasu-like incidents in the future.

Official sources told The Express Tribune that the new security measures would now cover all Chinese investment and workers irrespective of whether they are part of the CPEC projects or not.

The Dasu hydropower plant is not part of the CPEC projects and hence security arrangements were not the same.

Pakistan has raised a special security division headed by a two-star general to provide foolproof security to CPEC projects and the Chinese nationals working on them.

Now after the Dasu incident, similar security measures would be in place for all projects where Chinese companies and their nationals are involved, according to the sources.

The security arrangements are being reviewed in the view of potential threats being faced by CPEC and other Chinese investment by the "hostile agencies" towards both China and Pakistan.

The sources said Qureshi assured Chinese authorities that Pakistan would provide comprehensive security to their nationals working on CPEC and other projects.

A joint statement issued after talks between Foreign Minister Qureshi and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi read that both sides vowed to expose the culprits behind the Kohistan bus attack and give them "exemplary punishment".

Also read: FM, ISI chief in Beijing on crucial visit

They also pledged to take measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

"Both sides expressed their firm resolve to expose the culprits and their reprehensible designs through the ongoing joint investigation, give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators, ensure comprehensive safety and security of the Chinese projects, nationals and institutions, and prevent recurrence of such incidents," read a joint statement after talks between Qureshi and Wang in Beijing.

On July 14, at least 13 people including nine Chinese nationals were killed in an incident which was initially termed as accident but the joint statement made it clear that it was a terrorist attack.

The incident raised questions about the future of Chinese investment in Pakistan.

But the joint statement suggested that the two sides were not deterred by the bus attack as Pakistani side promised comprehensive security for Chinese nationals.

Both sides “vehemently” condemned the terrorist attack in Dasu which caused loss of precious lives and injuries to the Pakistani and Chinese workers.

The Pakistani side conveyed its profound condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families, emphasised that the sacrifices of Chinese nationals would not be in vain, and that China-Pakistan partnership would emerge stronger through this test.

Also read: China postpones JCC meeting

It also promised to ensure medical treatment, care and comfort of the injured, the statement added.

After the bus incident, the crucial Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), the apex forum for CPEC, was postponed.

However, the joint statement suggested that both sides were committed to the multimillion dollar flagship programme of China's belt and road initiative.

The two sides underscored that CPEC had entered the new phase of high-quality development, greatly contributing to the socio-economic development in Pakistan.

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