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China Suspends Construction of 2 Dams After Attack in Pakistan

Fri 29 Mar 2024 | 02:25 PM
Israa Farhan

Chinese companies have temporarily suspended the construction of two hydroelectric dams in northern Pakistan following the killing of five Chinese engineers in a suicide attack earlier this week, according to a local official.

A senior administrative official in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, requesting anonymity, stated, "Two Chinese companies have halted operations on two major projects, namely the Dasu and Diamer Basha dams."

He added, "They have requested new security plans from the government" before resuming construction operations at these sites, where about 1,250 Chinese workers are employed.

On Tuesday, five Chinese nationals working at a dam construction site and their Pakistani driver were killed in a suicide bombing targeting their vehicle in northwest Pakistan.

The security of Chinese crews working on several infrastructure projects in Pakistan has long been a concern for Beijing, which has invested billions of dollars in the country in recent years.

The administrative official further stated, "About 750 Chinese engineers are working on the Dasu dam project, and 500 are on Diamer Basha," noting that they are currently not allowed to leave their residences near the sites.

China has not yet commented on these statements, but it has repeatedly this week requested Pakistan to ensure the safety of its citizens.

Pakistan announced on Wednesday that it had enhanced security measures around Chinese citizens working on about 20 infrastructure projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan's Information Minister, Attaullah Tarar, announced during a press conference in Islamabad that all security measures would be reviewed "to identify and rectify any loopholes."

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, while Pakistan's Taliban, which operates in the region and has targeted Chinese interests in the past, denied involvement.

Beijing strongly condemned the "suicide attack" and urged Pakistan to "conduct an investigation as soon as possible and track down and hold accountable the perpetrators."

Chinese institutions are regularly targeted by attacks carried out by separatists in Balochistan province.