The death of nine Chinese engineers,and three Pakiatsni escorts, as they returned from work on the Dasu hydroelectric project,showed the state in a particularly poor light. For a start, it did not seem to be able to decide if the ill-fated vehicle had crashed because of a terrorist attack or because of a gas cylinder explsm, the osion on the vehicle by which they had been travelling. PM’s ParliamentaryAffairs Adviser Babar Awan said it was a terrorist attack, but then the Foreign Office said it was a cylinder blast. It was left to the Chinese Embassy to say it was terrorism.However one cuts it, the government cannot escape blame when it tries to explain to China why its citizens should keep on being killed while working on purely commercial projects.
If one is to accept the view that it was not terrorism, the government must explain why the visiting experts are put on such shoddy transport. If terrorism is accepted, the government will have to explain what its intelligence gencies are doing, even afer the recent integration exercise. An auxiliary issue is what is the Interior Ministry upto,and its Minister, Sh Rashid, who seems more comfortable lambasting the opposition than actually doing anything, like preventing such acts.
With the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, there seems a rise in the level of terrorism against Chinese interests in Pakistan. True, no group had claimed credit, but the attacks on the KSE in June last year,and on the hotel in Gwadar while the Chinese ambassador was there, indicate that the terrorists consider the Chinese fair game. The government should realize that the Chinese government is sensitive about its citizens, and take their security more seriously than it seems to be doing.