Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit China and inform Beijing of the progress made in the investigation into the incident of the deadly bus attack on Chinese workers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
The growing tensions between 'iron brothers' Pakistan and China after the deadly bus attack on Chinese workers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, have escalated to an alarming level with Beijing making it clear that foolproof security should be provided to Chinese citizens working on different projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
A 15-member cross-departmental joint working group from China had landed in Islamabad on Friday and is presently conducting investigations at the attack site near the Dasu hydropower plant in the Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where 12 persons, including nine Chinese engineers, had died and several others injured on Wednesday.
The bus blast which caused multiple casualties could rouse public sentiment in China against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)–a project on which Chinese President Xi Jinping has staked his personal prestige. The Chinese have called CPEC the flagship of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a mega-sized connectivity enterprisethat links China with the Eurasian supercontinent. The Dasu project is an important node of CPEC, which begins in Gwadar on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast and ends in Kashgar, in China's restive Xinjiang region.
Associated Press of Pakistan today quoted Pakistan's Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan has also directed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit China and inform Beijing of the progress made in the investigation into the incident.
Ahmed said that, on the instructions of President Xi Jinping, China's Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi had called and spoken to him for over half an hour.
"The Chinese minister was apprised of the sentiments of the government and the people of Pakistan over the incident, and also the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the authorities regarding beefing up the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan," the APP report mentioned.
The report added that the Interior Minister also assured Beijing that the enemies of Pak-China friendship and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would never be forgiven, and would given exemplary punishment.
Earlier this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had expressed its astonishment after learning about the incident which had caused heavy Chinese casualties.
"The CPC and the Chinese government attach high importance to this. Party and state leaders made important instructions right away," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said.
"The Pakistani side has said it places great emphasis on and will continue to take concrete measures to effectively protect the safety and security of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan. We appreciate this. The Chinese side will work together with Pakistan to strengthen security measures for bilateral cooperation projects and ensure the safety and security of all Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan," he had added.