RAWALPINDI: The police have decided to reinvestigate labourers working on the Karot Power Project in the case of a Chinese engineer who went missing last month.

The decision was made by Regional Police Officer (RPO) Mohammad Sultan Raja at a meeting on the site of the project on Saturday. The meeting was attended by the Rawalpindi city police officer, military officials, the Counter-Terrorism Deparment, Special Police Unit (SPU) and intelligence officials.

Pingzhi Liu, 36, went missing while working on the Karot Power Project in Kahuta on Dec 20, 2017.

Since his disappearance, several labourers associated with the project, including other Chinese nationals, have been interviewed and investigated by the police, but their efforts have proven unproductive.

In the early stages of the investigation, 11 people were detained by investigators who were later released. But police believe that they may find some information on Mr Liu if the labourers he was working with are investigated again.

A joint search operation was also initiated by military, SPU, police and intelligence personnel in the nearby Gharah Rajghan, Ghan Najar and Kanyari villages, during which 105 local residents were verified and 55 homes were searched on Friday.

In addition to Rangers and military personnel, the SPU and police have also been deployed for the project’s security and that of over 650 foreigners, the majority of whom are Chinese nationals, working on the project.

A senior security official told Dawn Mr Liu’s mother and nine-year-old daughter in China had been contacted by Pakistani authorities and informed of his disappearance. The family had denied that he had returned or been seen in his hometown.

Mr Liu’s mobile phone, which could otherwise have helped trace his whereabouts, has also been switched off since he went missing.

The police have been investigating the disappearance on various lines, including kidnapping or the possibility that he fell in the river. But more than two weeks since the disappearance, no ransom calls have been received and sniffer dogs have not been able to lead police to any clue regarding Mr Liu.

Police said they had no reason to believe he may be in hiding or have returned to his home country out of homesickness.

Law enforcement authorities have not been able to find any information during door-to-door searches in villages neighbouring the project.

A senior police official said: “We are unable to understand where the Chinese engineer has gone.”

The project in question is a China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, spread across 3,000 kanals. The residences of Chinese workers are guarded by the army, the Quick Response Force and the SPU.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2018