Asia

China sends its top trouble-shooter to Pakistan to discuss deployment of Chinese forces to secure CPEC

According to Pakistani observers, "whatever demands and concerns Yang conveys and any commitments that he makes during his meetings here will be seen as coming directly from President Xi."

New Delhi: July 1: Keeping pressure on the Pakistani government amid concerns about the security of its projects and citizens, China has sent its top trouble-shooter to Islamabad.

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CPC) and director of the Central Committee on Foreign Affairs had a separate meeting with the Pakistani premier Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Zardari Bhutto and the Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday to allow the Chinese security forces to secure the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Pakistanis have so far rejected the Chinese request. Beijing is increasingly worried about the security of CPEC, which passes through restive Balochistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Several Chinese personnel have been killed by Baloch militants and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) cadres including nine Chinese engineers working at the Dhasu power project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Yang, who is considered as the architect of Beijing’s 21st century foreign policy, is accompanied by China’s vice ministers for foreign affairs and commerce, vice chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and deputy secretary general of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

According to Pakistani observers, “whatever demands and concerns Yang conveys and any commitments that he makes during his meetings here will be seen as coming directly from President Xi.”

According to sources, Yang wanted to convey China’s concerns and “unhappiness” over the security provided by the Pakistani agencies. Consequently, he raised the Chinese proposal of setting up a nodal security agency in the country. But so far, the Pakistani government has been resisting the Chinese “proposal”.

“Pakistan has assured China’s most senior and influential diplomat on Wednesday that the Chinese investors in the country would be provided unwavering security arrangements,” said the Pakistani Foreign Office adding that the prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to enhanced measures for safety, security and protection of the Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in the country.”

According to Pakistani media, the relation between “iron brothers” has been under heavy stress and it has become more evident when Yang conveyed his “unhappiness” to the Pakistani leadership about the lack of progress in the prosecution of people involved in the April 26 attack in which three Chinese teachers were killed in Karachi. And even after two months, neither the mastermind nor other major actors involved in the attack have been apprehended.

Yang has asked the Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Zardari Bhutto to push “hard” for Majeed Brigade of the banned Balochistan Liberation Army’s Fidayeen (suicide) unit, to be listed on the UNSC 1267 Terror Sanctions list. The group has been behind most of the attacks on Chinese.

Earlier, the Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had promised to a Chinese security delegation last month that the Pakistan security agencies would set up a foreign security cell at the Central Police Office (CPO) with the requisite staff and logistics. As per the report, the Special Branch, Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and Security Division were assigned to audit the security arrangements periodically. The Pakistan Army had raised a special security division just to look after CPEC projects and Chinese workers. But the Chinese were not “impressed” because “mere words did not match by deeds”.

The Chinese are also concerned about the renewed threats coming from the TTP. On Wednesday the TTP boss Noor Wali Mehsud had blamed Pakistani security agencies for killing people on the behest of China in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions. The TTP chief admitted that his fighters have been targeting Chinese interests, including the attack on the Chinese ambassador in Quetta in April last year.

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