| Code: 78607 |

TIN news:   Security and safety of over 14,321 Chinese engineers and technicians working in Pakistan’s different places on 210 Chinese-aided small and mega projects, particularly in Baluchistan, has remained a matter of concern to the host as well as to the Chinese authorities.
The Chinese mega-project in Gwadar sea port is seen as Chinese incursion of Baluchistan by several Baluch insurgent groups and they are targeting Chinese in the Gwadar as well as other parts of the province. This sensitive issue caused anxiety to Pakistan, which recently took several measures to protect Chinese in Gwadar and other parts of the country. The civilian government of Pakistan has mainly assigned the task of protecting Chinese to the Pakistan Army and Navy.
Pakistan army had also envisaged a security plan for Chinese and China aided mega projects in Baluchistan, under which six wings of 5,700 personnel of the Frontier Corps, 3,000 police constables and 1,000 Levies personnel of the province would be involved in such plan.
Meanwhile Deputy Director General of China’s Ministry of Public Security Q.U. Jainging along with senior officials of China’s foreign ministry Ms Lili and Zhang Maoming visited (November 1, 2015) Gwadar and held discussions for the safety of Chinese working in Gwadar sea port, with Major General Azhar Naveed, Home Secretary of Baluchistan and senior Pakistan army and civil officers.
Chinese security delegation was informed that security of Gwadar and sea port there had been handed over to the Pakistan army, who had established check points at all entry points of Gwadar town. Pakistan army was also taking several measures to make Gwadar a “weapon-free” city.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong also visited Quetta (November 7, 2015) and discussed the issue with Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik, senior ministers and chief secretary of the province. Later, Pakistan army chief, General Raheel Sharif, had also assured (Islamabad, November 12, 2015) complete safety and security to the visiting Chinese in Pakistan to Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission of China, General Fan Changlong during his visit to Pakistan after a lapse of eleven years.
Both, Pakistan and China also agreed on a four-layer security plan meant for over three thousand kilometer long trade route, connecting Gwadar sea port to Xinjiang province of China.
Pakistan Navy has also taken several special measures for the safety and security of Chinese and their ambitious project in Gwadar sea port. Chief of the Pakistan’s Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah visited (November 7, 2015) Gwadar’s forward sea base and port and reviewed security arrangements there.
Admiral Zakaullah, during his visit to Gwadar port ensured protection of Gwadar port against all “asymmetric threats”. Later, Admiral Zakaullah, also announced that Pakistan Navy had raised (January 5, 2016) a Special Marine Battalion for security of Gwadar port, as well as for the Chinese engineers working there and Chinese and other foreign delegates visiting the port.
People of Baluchistan always remained wary of various Chinese projects in the province as they feel that Punjabi dominated Pakistani government, in collusion with China had been robbing the province of its precious natural resources as well as disturbing the demographical balance in favour of Punjabi and Sindhi communities.
Further more for Baloch nationalist’s Chinese presence was dangerous for the just fight of people of Baluchistan due to extra ordinary heightened security measures meant for the Chinese, but literally used for oppressive and repressive measures against Balochis.
Gwadar sea port was originally scheduled to be inaugurated by the then Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jia Bao in 2005 during his visit to Pakistan. However, before Gwadar sea port could have been inaugurated by Wen Jia Bao, Baloch nationalists attacked Gwadar based Chinese establishment and killed three Chinese engineers in May 2004. This resulted into cancellation of Wen Jia Bao’s visit to Gwadar due to security concerns. Later, Gwadar sea port was inaugurated by the former President, General Parvez Musharraf on March 20, 2007.
This is the sole reason that Baloch nationalist groups have been targeting Chinese in Baluchistan while carrying out their six decades old fight against federal government of Pakistan. Meanwhile, Baluchistan government claimed (September 16, 2015) that after the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) in January 2015, to deal with militancy, more than 8,000 terrorists have been arrested and 204 terrorists, including hundred high profile terrorists, had been killed by the security forces during 1,804 intelligence based operations in Baluchistan.
Earlier, on August 14, 2015, it was also claimed that around 400 Baloch militants belonging to various Bloch militant groups had laid down their weapons before provincial security authorities in Quetta on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day.
China’s major concern of safety and security is in its Gwadar sea port project in Baluchistan, through which China wants to have long awaited access to the ‘hot waters’ of Arabian sea as well as to ‘encircle’ India, courtesy Pakistan. Gwadar sea port is being managed by China Overseas Port Holding Company since February 18, 2013.
Earlier it was Singapore-based Company, Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), which was engaged in development and operations of the Gwadar sea port. Subsequently, on November 13, 2015, Chinese Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd (COPHCL), acquired full control of Gwadar port free trade zone and signed a 43-year lease for over two thousand acres of land there. Meanwhile, Pakistan had already declared Gwadar port a free trade zone for the next 23 years.
Pakistan army Chief, General Raheel Sharif on several occasions vowed to protect multi billion Chinese projects as well as Chinese working in Pakistan ,with special emphasis on Baluchistan and declared that Pakistan would defeat any “nefarious designs” of enemy to harm these projects. Incidentally, Frontier Works Organization (FWO) of the Pakistan army has been assigned the task of constructing a 502 kilometer long road, which is one of routes to link Gwadar with other parts of Pakistan and bordering Western China.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first ever visit to Pakistan in April 2015, China Pakistan signed 51 Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) worth US$ 46 billion for Pakistani mega projects to improve and upgrade a number of infrastructure schemes in the county, including developing Gwadar sea port at the cost of US $1 billion under Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (PCEC). President Xi, since coming into power in March 2013, showed exceptional interest in the improvement of infrastructure in Pakistan, particularly in Gwadar for strategic reasons as well as to further improve trade with Gulf and other countries in the region.
During President Xi visit to Pakistan itself, Pakistan army took lead to dispel Chinese apprehensions of their citizens security in the country and announced formation of a 12,000 strong ‘Special Security Division’ (SSD) under a Major General of the Pakistan army for the safety and security of Chinese in Pakistan. Although security of Chinese in Pakistan is an internal issue and fell under the jurisdiction of Pakistan’s interior Ministry, but assigning of this responsibility to the Pakistan Army had created rift between Nawaz Sharif and his Interior Minister, Chaudhary Nisar Ali.
Despite taking several stringent security measures by the Pakistan government to protect Chinese in Pakistan, including in Gwadar and other parts of Baluchistan, attacks on Chinese had been occurring. Some of major such attacks included killing of three Chinese engineers and injuring six other Chinese in Gwadar in March 2004, killing of two Chinese workers in October 2004 in South Waziristan, killing of three Chinese in Hub in Baluchistan in 2006, murder of three Chinese in Peshawar in July 2007, attack on a Chinese women in Peshawar in mid-2012 and killing of two Chinese in Gilgit-Baltistan in June 2013.
However, after Chinese President Xi’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015, and China’s proposed investment to the tune of US$ 46 billion in mega projects in Pakistan, security of Chinese have exclusivity been assigned to the Pakistan army in the country and Pakistan Navy in Gwadar, following which Chinese are more likely to feel secure while working in Pakistan.

Send Comment

Latest news The most viewed news The most popular topics
Book introduction Magazine introduction Transportation weekly

Multimedia