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Sat. May 25th, 2024

In response to a devastating suicide bombing targeting Chinese engineers at a major dam site in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last month, Pakistan’s Prime Minister has taken decisive action. At least five senior police officials are set to face punishment for negligence, according to the country’s information minister, Attaullah Tarar.

The attack, which claimed the lives of five Chinese workers and a Pakistani driver, prompted the suspension of operations at two dam projects operated by Power China and the China Gezhouba Company.

The affected sites, Dasu and Diamer Bhasha dams, employ hundreds of Chinese nationals and are situated approximately 100 kilometers apart in the mountainous region. Minister Tarar revealed that a committee appointed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif identified specific officials, including a regional official, three district officials, and the director of security at the Dasu dam project, for their negligence in fulfilling their duties. The Prime Minister has instructed for immediate action to be taken against these individuals, with ongoing monitoring of Chinese nationals’ security.

Security lapses concerning Chinese citizens will be treated with the utmost seriousness, Tarar emphasized during a press conference in Lahore. While operations by Power China have resumed at Diamer Bhasha, those at the Dasu site remain suspended. Pakistani authorities have detained over a dozen individuals, including Afghan nationals, in connection with the bombing.

The relationship between Pakistan and China is deeply intertwined, with Beijing providing substantial financial assistance to support its neighbor and investing over $2 trillion in infrastructure projects. However, grievances persist among Pakistanis regarding the distribution of benefits and job opportunities stemming from these projects. The recent attack underscores the persistent security challenges faced by Chinese workers in Pakistan, with militants hostile to external influence frequently targeting them.

This attack comes in the wake of a recent attempted assault on offices at the Gwadar deepwater port in southwestern Pakistan, a critical component of Chinese investment in the country. Both incidents highlight the ongoing security risks inherent in China’s ambitious infrastructure projects in Pakistan, necessitating continued vigilance and cooperation between the two nations to safeguard personnel and assets.

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