New Delhi: After nine Chinese engineers died in an alleged terror attack in Pakistan, viral images on social media show Chinese workers at the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, armed with AK-47 guns to defend themselves.
On July 14, Chinese engineers travelling to the Dasu dam project in Pakistan’s northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were attacked. In its first kind of attack on Chinese nationals, nine engineers lost their lives in the country which prompted Beijing to send its team for investigation.
The use of AK-47s by the Chinese nationals raises doubts about the efficacy of two Special Security Divisions (SSDs) in Pakistan to protect Chinese workers and assets in the country. These are 34 Light Infantry Division created in September 2016 and 44 Light Infantry Division created in 2020, each having 15,000 troops, according to WionNews.
Chinese workers in Pakistan are engaged in the mega project CPEC that is constructed to connect China’s western region with Gwadar port in the restive Balochistan province.
The project is of signifcance to China as it will give its products a wider market in West Asia, but doubts are being raised about the viability and financial impact of the project.
CHina has pupmed in billions of dollars besides focusing on the security of Chinese nationals working on it. In order to ensure its expansion, Beijing is offering financial assistance to Islamabad on security aspects, but the Dasu attack raises concern about the safety of workers.
A similar attack was carried out in Ormara on October 15, 2020, when 14 Pakistani security personnel were dragged out of a bus and killed by Baloch militants.