December 7, 2022

All Chinese CPEC workers in Pakistan will travel in armored cars: report

Islamabad: Pakistan and China have agreed to use armored vehicles for all outward travel of Chinese nationals working on CPEC projects in Pakistan to protect them from terrorist attacks after Beijing expressed concern over their safety, according to a media report on Sunday.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connects the Pakistani port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea with Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China.

The $60 billion CPEC is part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of President Xi Jinping.

The safety of Chinese workers has been a huge obstacle to the implementation of its various projects.

According to the draft minutes of the 11th CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), the two sides also agreed to build the capacity of law enforcement and investigators, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

It has been decided that armored vehicles will be used for all outward movement of Chinese employed on projects, said the draft minutes of the 11th CCM, which was exchanged by Pakistan and China.

Last week, President Xi expressed “deep concern” about the safety of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan on CPEC projects and sought a “reliable and safe environment” for them during his talks with Prime Minister Shehbaz. Sharif on his first visit to Beijing to enhance all-time friendship.

The rulings could help address Chinese government concerns, the report said.

The draft minutes further showed that the Chinese side has pledged to provide security-related equipment for the capacity building of Pakistani law enforcement agencies.

To speed up the investigation of crimes involving Chinese nationals, it had been decided that the National Forensic Science Agency (NFSA) would be built on modern lines.

The Pakistani side has requested China’s support for a comprehensive upgrade of the National Forensic Laboratory in Islamabad. The Chinese side assured its full support for this, according to the draft minutes.

The Chinese side also pledged to establish a training center for private security guards and law enforcement personnel to equip them with modern techniques and modules.

With recurring attacks on its workers, China had even asked Pakistan to let its security personnel protect Chinese nationals, sources said.

Considering the increase in the number of acts of terrorism involving off-corridor projects, Pakistan has proposed the establishment of a separate joint task force for the coordination of security efforts.

But it was mutually agreed that a Joint Technical Experts Working Group (JTEWG) would be created for non-CPEC project security. The JTEWG would evaluate the services of private security companies.

The draft minutes suggested that Pakistan had been unable to achieve its goal of accelerating work on some of CPEC’s energy projects, despite re-committing to maintaining political stability. taxes and tariffs.

The draft document said that the financial close would remain dependent on the authorization of a Chinese insurance company which was suffering greatly from the non-payment of energy royalties by Pakistan.

China has not backed down from its demand that Pakistan should settle arrears in due time and open a revolving bank account.

The Chinese side appreciated the Pakistani side’s efforts to fully pay the tariff for CPEC power projects in a timely manner, and hoped for a further increase in the tariff settlement rate to ensure the repayment of the bank loan and the normal operation of the CPEC. Energy CPEC. projects, according to the draft minutes.