Chinese confidence in Pakistan’s security ‘shaken’

Published May 8, 2022
This file photo from April 26 shows law enforcement officials standing guard after a suicide attack at Karachi University. —  Photo provided by Shahzeb Ahmed
This file photo from April 26 shows law enforcement officials standing guard after a suicide attack at Karachi University. — Photo provided by Shahzeb Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: There may have been no exodus of Chi­nese workers from Pakistan after the Karachi University attack, but they look less confident about the country’s ability to protect them.

“The Chinese confidence in Pakistan’s security system’s ability to protect their citizens and their projects is seriously shaken,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Senate Defence Committee.

Senator Mushahid, who led a Senate delegation to the Chinese embassy last week to express his condole­nces over the loss of three Chi­nese lives in a suicide att­ack on their van on the university’s premises last mon­th, was sharing the mood on the Chinese side in a conversation with Dawn on Friday.

The Karachi University attack was the third terrorist attack on Chinese citizens on Pakistani soil in a year.

Read: China condemns suicide attack at Karachi University, demands punishment for perpetrators

“It has caused serious concern and understandable indignation in China. More so, the pattern of attacks is so recurring and it’s clear that Pakistani promises of ‘foolproof security’ are mere words, not matched by countermeasures on the ground,” he maintained.

Criticising the security arrangements, he said security agencies seemed to have been caught napping. “If such attacks continue, not just Chinese but other foreign investors will be forced to review their role in Pakistan,” he said.

There were reports on social media of Chinese workers leaving Pakistan in large numbers after the attack.

A Chinese source denied such reports, adding that it was a regular movement of Chinese workers and citizens living in Pakistan on a weekly flight from Karachi that was presented by some as an “exodus”.

The source, however, noted that terrorist attacks do impact the confidence of the Chinese community living here.

FIA’s cybercrime wing said the tweet claiming that thousands of Chinese were leaving from Karachi’s airport because of threats was a “baseless and panic-creating video tweet”.

Head of FIA Cyber Crime Sindh Imran Riaz told Dawn that action would be taken against the person who tweeted it once the ongoing investigations were complete.

At a media conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lijian Zhao expressed hope that “the plot of terrorist forces to undermine the two countries’ mutual trust and cooperation will not succeed”.

He said the Chinese side would work with Pakistan to conduct a thorough investigation, reveal the truth, bring the perpetrators to justice, and explain to the people of both countries.

China, he maintained, attached importance to Pakistan’s strengthening security measures to protect Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in Pakistan and stood ready to work together with the Pakistani side to ensure safe and smooth progress in bilateral cooperation and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2022

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