RAWALPINDI: The Punjab home department has asked the police and the Special Protection Unit (SPU) to review security checking process at the Karot hydropower project in Kahuta following the disappearance of a Chinese engineer from the site over four months ago.

The Chinese builders of the project were of the view that the current security arrangements were a hurdle in pushing the work to the required momentum.

The disappearance of the engineer had also led to the temporary closure of the work at the site between December 21, 2017 and January 5, 2018.

Decision taken after Chinese builders term security vetting process a hurdle in expediting work at the site

The 36-year-old Chinese engineer, Pingzhi Liu, went missing under mysterious circumstances while working on a tunnel liked to a river at the power project on December 20, 2017.

Police, intelligence officials and the SPU have been searching in and around the construction site to find a clue to Mr Liu. A kidnapping case was also registered with the Kahuta police.

The home department recently instructed the divisional commissioner, deputy inspector general of the SPU and the regional police officer Rawalpindi to address the security issues by meeting all the stakeholders.

The police authorities were also directed to take necessary measures for the security of the Chinese nationals working at the 720 MW Karot power project.

Both the police and civil administration have been asked to visit the project site and review the security.

At a recent meeting of the subcommittee on law and order that operates under the provincial cabinet, the present situation was reviewed to make all-out efforts to address issues related to the security of the Karot power project.

The meeting was informed that the ministry of energy and infrastructure board had approached the Ministry of Interior to resolve the matter regarding the missing Chinese engineer without causing any interference to the ongoing construction activities.

The Chinese government had also taken notice of the difficulties being faced by the project company with regard to security-related issues that included checking and vetting of local staff before hiring at the project.

In the light of concerns shown by the Chinese government regarding complicated security checking process of workers and vehicles, the divisional commissioner was directed to hold a meeting with all stakeholders to resolve the issue.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2018

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