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Another setback for China as fire burns down warehouse at Dasu Hydropower dam 

Fire at Chinese company's warehouse at Dasu Hydropower project in Pakistan (Photo: @IftikharFirdous/Twitter)

An early morning fire gutted the warehouse of a Chinese company at the Dasu hydropower project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Pakistani media reported that fire brigade vehicles rushed from neighbouring districts of Shangla and Kohistan to douse out the massive flames. “It was quite a big storehouse, and apart from oil drums, stationery and machinery were also stockpiled there. That’s all been destroyed in the fire,” a Rescue 1122 official told the media.

The camp had Chinese engineers, surveyors and mechanics, but police reported no casualties. An electrical fault is being suspected for causing the fire.

The Dasu dam is being built by the China Gezhouba Group Company, which was awarded the contract by the Pakistan government in 2017.

The project site was attacked in July 2021 by a suicide car bomber killing nine Chinese engineers and three Pakistanis. Islamabad tried to hide the attack as a gas leak but Beijing unearthed the lies and also took a heavy compensation from Pakistan for the families of the killed engineers.

Chinese nationals in Pakistan have come under attack from nationalist forces in various parts of the country, particularly Balochistan and Sindh. A concerned Beijing has taken up the issue of enhancing security for Chinese assets several times with Pakistan at the highest levels.

However, the situation for China only worsened in Pakistan after the Taliban set up administration in neighbouring Afghanistan. Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) militants from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas have been converging in Pakistan for big-ticket attacks against Pakistani security forces.

China’s ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been a major target for attacks by ethnic populations which claim to have been exploited by the Pakistani elite in return for no economic or livelihood benefits.

Also read: Beijing asks bankrupt Pak to release dues for CPEC power firms and allow import of coal