RAWALPINDI: A Chinese engineer went missing on Wednesday while working on a tunnel linked to a river for the Karot power project in Kahuta.

Police, intelligence officials and special protection unit (SPU) personnel have launched a search operation in and around the camp where the workers live to find 36-year-old Pingzhi Liu, who is suspected to have been swept away by the river.

However, the police did not rule out the possibility of kidnapping as his mobile phone was switched off.

Police said Mr Pingzhi — who had been associated with the Karot power project since he arrived in Islamabad last year — was last seen by his co-workers walking out of a tunnel at around 3.30am while talking to someone on his phone.

Apart from Mr Pingzhi, five divers were also working on the tunnel site when he went missing. The police grilled the divers but found no clue leading to the missing Chinese national till the filing of this report.

Pingzhi Liu — with his passport number E4-3464795 — had arrived at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad from Beijing on Feb 13, 2016 and travelled back to Beijing on Dec 11. He had returned to Islamabad on March 27 this year.

After his disappearance, the immigration authorities at Benazir Bhutto International Airport were alerted and according to their immigration record, the Chinese engineer has not left the country so far.

Senior Superintendent of Police SPU Syed Ali Mohsin told Dawn that besides the local police, the SPU was also involved in the search which was being expanded to the river side.

The security personnel, he said, have asked the locals to immediately contact the police if they had seen Mr Pingzhi. However, no one had come forward to help the police trace the Chinese expert’s whereabouts.

“Our concern for his safety is growing. We want to know he is safe,” the SSP said, adding that Mr Pingzhi was working on the tunnel linked to the river when he went missing in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“The possibility of kidnapping or accident can’t be ruled out. However, scope of the search operation has been widened to the river and surrounding areas,” SSP Mohsin said.

He said that more than 300 Chinese were working on the power project and had been issued an advisory to follow standard operating procedure regarding security at their workplace and residence.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2017

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