MANSEHRA: The talks between the Water and Power Development Authority and China’s Gezhouba Group Company on the resumption of work on Dasu hydropower project remained inconclusive in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The Chinese ambassador was present in the talks.

Wapda chairman retired Lt-General Muzammil Hussain led the Wapda team.

Work on the World Bank-funded energy project came to a halt following the death of 13 people, including nine Chinese workers, in a bus blast on July 13.

A member of Pakistani negotiators told Dawn that the parleys, which were postponed last week, were held in presence of Chinese ambassador Nong Rong but the Chinese company continued to be reluctant to resume work on the project for security and other reasons.

He, however, said the two sides decided to hold another round of talks to ensure early resumption of work.

Talks with Wapda inconclusive

The source said the Wapda chairman informed the Chinese company’s representatives and ambassador about the deployment of the Pakistan Army’s troops in Upper and Lower Kohistan and Kolai-Palas districts.

He said the Pakistan Army’s brigades deployed in Kohistan district would escort Chinese nationals to work and respective camps via the Karakoram Highway.

The source said both sides also discussed progress on the bus blast probe by the Chinese agencies and counter-terrorism department.

He said the Chinese government thanked the Pakistani government for the provision of facilities and required security to its nationals working on the Dasu dam and other projects in Hazara division under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative.

The source said the joint bus blast investigation by the military and civil agencies was almost complete and led to the collection of ‘important evidence’ of the culprits.

Meanwhile, a World Bank team returned to Islamabad after a weeklong visit to Upper Kohistan district.

It held meetings about Dasu power project with the Chinese company’s representatives and district administration and sought foolproof security for workers both local and foreign.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021

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