ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is formulating a strategy to improve the security of Chinese nationals and companies operating in the country, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in a meeting with China’s envoy on Sunday, days after a suicide attack on a motorcade carrying Chinese personnel in southwestern Balochistan province.
The Chinese diplomatic mission in Pakistan on Friday demanded “practical and effective measures” to ensure the safety of its nationals in the country and preclude the possibility of future militant attacks against them.
The attack at the Gwadar East Bay Expressway project injured one Chinese national and killed two local children. Responsibility as claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army, a separatist group that has also launched similar attacks in the past.
Following the incident, the Chinese embassy in Pakistan demanded “practical and effective measures” to ensure the safety of its nationals in the country and prevent the possibility of future militant attacks against them.
Pakistan is “formulating a joint strategy to protect Chinese citizens,” Ahmed said, as quoted in a statement by the interior ministry after the meeting with Ambassador Nong Rong in Islamabad. “We will further improve the security of Chinese citizens and Chinese companies operating in Pakistan.”
The incident took place about a month after a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying workers to a dam construction site in northern Pakistan, killing 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals.
“Mutual cooperation and development of Pakistan and China will not be allowed to be held hostage by terrorists,” Ahmed said.
Beijing is investing over $65 billion in infrastructure projects in Pakistan as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, under its wider Belt and Road initiative.
Afghanistan and its impact on Pakistan, as the minister apprised the ambassador that Pakistan was providing facilities to those fleeing the war-torn country. He said: “We will continue to play our role for permanent peace in Afghanistan as fast-changing developments have turned the region more important.”
The Chinese ambassador and the interior minister also vowed that the two countries would not allow development activities and cooperation to be held hostage by terrorists.
Recent weeks have witnessed an increase in scope and frequency of attacks on Chinese workers and diplomats in Pakistan.
According to media reports, armed motorcyclists had on July 28 opened fire on a car carrying Chinese nationals in Karachi, causing serious gunshot wounds.
The shooting came on the heels of a July 14 explosion that caused a bus carrying Chinese and Pakistani personnel for a Chinese-funded dam project in northwest Pakistan to plunge into a ravine, killing nine Chinese citizens and four Pakistanis.
Taliban not to allow TTP to use Afghanistan
Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday said that Taliban has assured that it will not allow banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to use Afghan soil.
Sheikh Rashid, while talking to media persons, said that situation in Afghanistan is being closely monitored and prayed for peace in the neighboring country.
The minister further said that international conspiracies are being hatched against China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as India does not want the project to be a success. Pakistan Army is providing security to Chinese companies, he added.
Responding to a question while addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said some TTP members such as Maulvi Faqir Mohammad had been released by the Taliban after their takeover of Kabul on August 15, adding that the government was in “full contact” with the Taliban on the issue.
“The related authorities there have been told that those who have done terrorism in Pakistan [are controlled].”The Afghan Taliban have reassured [us] that Afghanistan’s land will not be allowed to be used in any case by the TTP,” said Rashid.
He said Pakistan desired peace in Afghanistan since peace in one country was related to peace in the other. The interior minister’s comments come two days after the Foreign Office said Pakistan would ask the incoming government in Afghanistan to act against the TTP.