ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday assured Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad, Nong Rong, of a foolproof security mechanism and surveillance system for Chinese nationals in the country, the Pakistani state-run APP news agency reported.
In September, Beijing asked Islamabad to improve security conditions for its workers in Pakistan as a “precondition” for progress on the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
The demand came during a meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), the apex decision-making body for the economic corridor projects.
CPEC has seen Beijing pledge over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, central to China’s wider Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to develop land and sea trade routes in Asia and beyond.
On Wednesday, Ambassador Nong visited Pakistan’s foreign national security cell at the National Action Plan Secretariat, where he was briefed by the Pakistani interior minister on the steps taken by the law enforcement agencies to ensure security of Chinese citizens in Pakistan.
“A secure atmosphere is a must for the promotion of economic activities between the two countries,” Ahmed was quoted as saying.
“The government has established a foreign national security cell in order to ensure a safe and sound security system for foreigners in Pakistan.”
The development comes months after a suicide bomb attack on a motorcade carrying Chinese personnel injured one Chinese national and killed two local children in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province. The incident took place on the East Bay Expressway in the port city of Gwadar, which lies at the heart of CPEC.
The Gwadar attack followed the July 14 bombing that killed nine Chinese nationals among 13 people who were en route to a dam construction site in northern Pakistan, prompting Prime Minister Imran Khan to himself lead security reviews.
Ahmed told the Chinese envoy that special committees were regularly monitoring security situation and coordinating security matters, adding that the implementation of recommendations of these committees was being ensured too.
Ambassador Nong appreciated the government’s move to set up the foreign national security cell for the security of Chinese citizens and various development projects. He said the Chinese embassy would coordinate with the cell to achieve shared objectives.
The Chinese government would initiate more development projects as it wanted Pakistan to progress economically, Nong added.