Chinese engineers and other staffers, engaged in the construction of M4 Motorway from Bahawalpur to Faisalabad, attacked policemen deployed for their security after the foreign workers were barred from leaving their camp's premises without a security squad, DawnNewsTV reported on Wednesday.
Several mobile phone clips doing rounds on social media show Chinese nationals approaching the police officials in a provocative manner and attacking them. A video showed a Chinese national standing on the bonnet of a police van, another video showed several Chinese nationals thrashing policemen and some local people in plain clothes.
According to police officials, Chinese engineers and other officials wanted to leave their camp in Khanewal and visit a "red-light" area on Tuesday night. They resorted to agitation when denied permission to leave the camp without being accompanied by security officials.
Later, the Chinese engineers also cut power supply to the police camp established within the main construction camp, the officials added.
On Wednesday morning, the Chinese workers stopped work on the project and abandoned heavy machinery and vehicles on various roads in the area. They also resorted to violence and attacked police in their camp.
Subsequently, the protesting Chinese engineers wrote a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, claiming that police officials refrained them from performing their duties and attacked them.
They also accused the security in-charge of attempting to hit the Chinese workers with his vehicle. Police officials, however, rejected the accusations and said they were fabricated.
Later in the day, Khanewal DPO Rizwan Omer Gondal held a meeting with the protesting Chinese workers following which they agreed to open the blocked roads.
Meanwhile, the police officials made it clear to the Chinese engineers that they will not be allowed to leave their camp without security arrangements.
This was not the first time when Chinese nationals in Pakistan attacked local police. In 2016, a clash occurred between the police and Chinese workers as the latter insisted on staying at a construction camp at night, but the former opposed the idea due to security reasons.
According to media reports, citing sources, some Chinese nationals associated with the Chinese army and trained in martial arts had attacked and injured police personnel deployed for their security.
However, the police had avoided taking any legal action against the Chinese to avert further conflict. In fact, the then CPO had suspended three SHOs and six other policemen for not restraining themselves from a clash.