Pakistan will take steps to ensure security of Chinese nationals, president assures envoy

Published April 4, 2024
President Asif Ali Zardari meets Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong in Islamabad on Thursday. — PID
President Asif Ali Zardari meets Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong in Islamabad on Thursday. — PID

President Asif Ali Zardari assured Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong on Thursday that Pakistan would take necessary measures to ensure the security of Chinese nationals working on projects in the country.

The meeting between the two comes a week after five Chinese engineers — and their Pakistani driver — were killed in a suicide bombing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bisham while travelling between Islamabad and a hydroelectric dam construction site in Dasu. The bus was attacked in the Bisham city of KP’s Shangla district.

The attack prompted China to demand a thorough probe into the deadly blast and security for its citizens. In response, Islamabad had announced a swift probe to hold the “perpetrators and accomplices” accountable. Chinese investigators had also arrived to join the probe.

In response to the Chinese government’s demand to promptly investigate the incident and act against those involved, the government had also decided to form a joint investigation team to probe the attack.

A statement issued by the presidency today said Ambassador Zaidong called on President Zardari at the Aiwan-i-Sadr.

“The meeting discussed matters of mutual interest, besides underscoring the need to increase counter-terrorism cooperation and intelligence sharing to overcome the menace of terrorism.

“The president assured the ambassador that Pakistan would take all necessary measures to ensure the security of our Chinese brothers, who are working on different projects in Pakistan,” it added.

The Bisham attack was part of a series of assaults in a span of a few days specifically targeting Chinese interests, including previous incidents at the Gwadar Port Authority Complex and the Turbat naval base, both of which are integral to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. These consecutive attacks underlined the escalating security challenges facing Chinese projects and personnel in Pakistan.

In a previous attack in July 2021, 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed when a coach carrying them to an under-construction tunnel site of the 4,300-megawatt Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in the Upper Kohistan area after an explosion.

Meeting with Russian ambassador

The president also had a meeting with Russian Ambassador Albert P Khorev and extended his condolences for the many deaths in a Moscow terrorist attack last month.

Khorev told the president that Russia desired to play its part in the economic development and prosperity of Pakistan and that both countries were cooperating on mutual issues such as anti-terrorism and drug trafficking.

The ambassador said that Russia desired to double the existing volume of bilateral trade with Pakistan and President Zardari also expressed the hope to increase bilateral cooperation, particularly in energy and barter trade.

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