ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairs a meeting of the National Security Committee on Wednesday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairs a meeting of the National Security Committee on Wednesday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Amid Beijing’s growing concerns about the safety of two of its abducted nationals, the National Security Committee (NSC) on Wednesday reviewed the security of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and Chinese nationals based in the country.

A meeting of the NSC presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was briefed about the efforts being made for the recovery of two Chinese-language instructors, who were kidnapped from Quetta’s Jinnah Town last week (May 24).

A press statement issued by the PM Office on the committee’s meeting did not give the details except for noting that “security for CPEC projects also came under discussion”.

The NSC is the highest civil-military coordination forum on matters of national security and defence.

Army chief calls on PM ahead of NSC meeting

The committee, which besides the prime minister as its head has foreign, defence, interior and finance ministers, National Security Adviser and services chiefs and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff as its members, was specially attended by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and Director General FWO Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, both of whom are related to CPEC projects.

“The Chinese government atta­ches great importance to the safety of overseas Chinese citizens and condemns the abduction of personnel in any form,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had said after the abduction incident last week.

The Chinese diplomatic mission in Pakistan had soon after the incident activated its “emergency response mechanism” — an internal response mechanism. The Chinese embassy in Islamabad and the Consulate General in Karachi are working with Pakistani authorities for rescuing the kidnap victims.

Security has been a major concern for the Chinese ever since the CPEC was launched. The establishment of the Special Security Division to a certain extent assuaged the concern. However, those have been renewed after the latest kidnapping episode. The fears have been further reinforced by killing of 10 labourers in Gwadar in a terrorist attack claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army. The labourers were, however, employed with a non-CPEC project.

The NSC, moreover, discussed internal and external security situation of the country, the press statement said, adding that it expressed satisfaction over the sustained gains achieved from antiterrorism operations, particularly Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. The NSC expressed serious concern over the atrocities by Indian forces against innocent people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir and resolved to continue its moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris.

Earlier, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on the prime minister and discussed matters pertaining to operational preparedness of the Pakistan Army.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2017

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