Pakistan PM orders police punished after Chinese dam worker attack

Pakistan PM orders police punished after Chinese dam worker attack
Pakistan PM orders police punished after Chinese dam worker attack

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - In this handout photograph taken and released by the Pakistan's Press Information Department (PID) on April 1, 2024, shows Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (3rd left) interacts with engineers of the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) working at the Dasu Hydropower project in Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. — Pakistan's Press Information Department handout pic via AFP

ISLAMABAD, April 6 — Pakistan’s prime minister has ordered at least five senior police officials be punished for negligence after a suicide bomber killed five Chinese engineers at a major dam site last month, the country’s information minister said today.

The attack in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province forced Power China and the China Gezhouba Company to suspend work on two dam projects after the bombing killed the five workers and a Pakistani driver, sending their van into a deep ravine.

Hundreds of Chinese people are employed at the Dasu and Diamer Bhasha dam construction sites, located around 100 kilometres apart in the mountainous region.

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Minister of Information Attaullah Tarar said a committee appointed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif identified a regional official, three district officials and the director of security at the Dasu dam project for their “negligence” in fulfilling their duties.

“The prime minister has ordered immediate action against these officials,” Tarar told a press conference in the city of Lahore, without specifying what their punishment will be.

“The prime minister himself will be monitoring the security of Chinese (nationals). Those individuals who have shown negligence will be set as an example.”

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Tarar said security matters regarding Chinese citizens would be “treated with utmost seriousness and any lapses will not be tolerated.”

Operations by Power China have resumed at Diamer Bhasha while operations at China Gezhouba Group Company at Dasu remain closed.

Pakistani police have detained more than 12 people, including Afghan nationals, in connection with the bombing.

Beijing is Islamabad’s closest regional ally, frequently offering financial assistance to support its often-struggling neighbour and pouring more than US$2 trillion (RM9.4 trillion) into infrastructure projects.

However, Pakistanis have long complained about not receiving a fair share of the jobs or wealth generated by the projects.

The security of Chinese workers is a major concern to both countries, with nationals frequently targeted by militants hostile to outside influence.

Last week’s attack came just days after militants attempted to storm offices of the Gwadar deepwater port in the south-west, considered a cornerstone of Chinese investment in Pakistan. — AFP

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