Pakistan should provide enhanced security to Chinese nationals working for the $46 billion China-Pakistan economic corridor as the country’s domestic and foreign opposition groups are using “extreme means” to sabotage the ambitious project, a state-run Chinese daily said on Monday.
Noting that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has already achieved progress with various infrastructure projects funded by China, the state-run Global Times in an article said, “The corridor’s construction worries Pakistan’s domestic and foreign opposition groups.”
“CPEC is seeing intensifying opposition from both home and abroad, which, on the other hand, shows that its construction has achieved major progress that gets on the nerves of opposition groups,” it said. A Chinese engineer was injured in a roadside blast in Karachi on May 30 claimed by a little-known separatist group that vowed to derail the ambitious project.
In a pamphlet recovered from the blast site the group, ‘Sindhudesh Revolutionary Party’ warned China against looting Sindh’s resources. The daily said that “the attack on Chinese engineers is just a beginning, which China and Pakistan should take seriously.”
“At the Beijing Forum held in Islamabad in late May, countries including the US and Japan have shown concerns over CPEC construction and even bluntly criticised the China-Pakistan friendship,” the article, said without directly referring to India’s opposition to the project which passes through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The daily said the CPEC is a significant part of the “Belt and Road” initiative, which is not only a domestic strategy of China to open up its central and western regions, but also a regional and international development proposal.
Criticising China’s strategy in articulating the project’s importance, it said, “Some international forces tend to interpret CPEC and the Belt and Road initiative from a geopolitical perspective. This is partly due to their geopolitical competition mentality, and partly to our exaggeration of the initiative’s strategic significance and inappropriate ways of publicity.”
“When CPEC was first proposed, some opposition forces were suspicious of the determination and capability of the two nations to promote the project, and thus were attempting to thwart the project by provoking domestic political conflicts in Pakistan,” it said.
“However, after realising CPEC is achieving real progress, they used more extreme means to upset and destroy the corridor construction. In this sense, the attack against Chinese engineers is just a beginning, which China and Pakistan should take seriously,” it said. It said that the Pakistani government has created a special security division and will take further security measures to protect Chinese engineers.
“This suggests that the attacks against Chinese engineers will not succeed, and it is impossible for the opposition forces to thwart CPEC’s construction by terrorist attacks,” it said.
“However, the bomb attack suggests that loopholes exist in Pakistan and they have been exploited by opposition forces. The Pakistani government should strengthen its management capabilities,” it said.
The daily underlined that low efficiency is the biggest obstacle to CPEC’s construction, which should be addressed by the joint efforts from governments of all levels and the army in Pakistan.