After a string of terror attacks, China demands strong security protocols for its nationals in Pakistan

Days after expressing concern over the “worsening” security situation in Pakistan in the wake of the latest terror attack targeting its nationals, China has demanded strong security protocols for Chinese nationals in Pakistan

Aug 23, 2021
String of terror attacks

Days after expressing concern over the “worsening” security situation in Pakistan in the wake of the latest terror attack targeting its nationals, China has demanded strong security protocols for Chinese nationals in Pakistan.

The demand was articulated by Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong, who took up the issue of safety of his country’s nationals with Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid.

The meeting took place in Pakistans’s federal capital Islamabad two days after a suicide attack on a motorcade carrying Chinese nationals on Gwadar East-Bay Expressway in the restive Balochistan province claimed the lives of two Pakistani children and hurt one Chinese worker.

Rashid said a joint strategy was being devised for the protection of Chinese companies and nationals in Pakistan.

“We will improve security protocol of Chinese nationals at any cost,” Rashid assured the ambassador.

The interior ministry quoted the ambassador as asking the interior minister to ensure “stronger security protocol” for Chinese nationals.

There has been an increase in scope and frequency of attacks on Chinese workers and diplomats in Pakistan in recent weeks, Dawn reported.

According to media reports, armed motorcyclists had on July 28 opened fire on a car carrying Chinese nationals in Karachi, causing serious gunshot wounds.

The shooting followed a July 14 explosion that caused a bus carrying Chinese and Pakistani personnel for a Chinese-funded dam project in northwest Pakistan to plunge into a ravine, killing nine Chinese citizens and four Pakistanis.

On August 20, a motorcade carrying Chinese workers was attacked by a suicide bomber at the Gwadar East-Bay Expressway project. Two children were killed in the blast that also left several people, including one Chinese national, injured.

Hours later local media reported that the banned Baloch Liberation Army had claimed responsibility for the attack.

In 2018, the militant outfit had also claimed responsibility for a gun-and-bomb attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi. Three terrorists were killed while two policemen and two civilians lost their lives, as security forces foiled the attack.

In a statement issued a day after the Gwadar motorcade attack, the Chinese embassy said: “Relevant departments at all levels in Pakistan must take practical and effective measures to implement strengthened whole-process security measures and upgrade security cooperation mechanism to ensure that similar incidents do not happen again.

“Recently, the security situation in Pakistan has worsened. There have been several terrorist attacks in succession, resulting in the casualties of several Chinese citizens. The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan reminds the Chinese citizens in Pakistan to be vigilant, strengthen safety precautions, reduce unnecessary outings, and take effective security protections,” the statement said.

Work on the Gwadar East-Bay Expressway was launched in November 2017. The project is considered a highlight of the mega China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

The CPEC is part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations.

It is considered a centerpiece of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary and Chinese leader Xi Jinping's foreign policy.

Pakistan and China had launched CPEC six years ago with an initial investment portfolio of about USD 46 billion, which was subsequently increased to USD 60 billion.

The share of projects that are in the pipeline is USD 28 billion, according to the CPEC Authority presentation to the cabinet body in January this year.

So far, 17 projects worth USD 13 billion have been completed while another 21 projects having an estimated cost of USD 12 billion are being implemented.