Chinese investigators arrive

The Bhasham incident has to be cleared up to save Pak-China ties

The arrival of a team of Chinese investigators indicates that the Chinese government is placing great significance on the incident. The accepting of the team by the Pakistan government is also of importance, for local police forces are apt to view such a tea’s being sent as a slur on their abilities, and for the government to bhave overcome any such resentment shows that it has also placed great importance on this visit. This is one of the biggest incidents of terrorism against Chinese working in Pakistan, as five Chinese engineers were killed, along with a Pakistani security guard. Those killed on Tuesday were working on the Dasu hydroelectric project.

The project had been targeted before, in 2021, when a bus attack killed 13 Chinese workers. The immediate suspicion to arise would be some business rivalry was at work. However, there is no crowd of firms building hydroelectric projects, so that can probably be ruled out. However, there have been a number of attacks on Chinese personnel working on various China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, the most recent being at the Turbat naval base on March 205 and at Gwadar on March 25. These are not usual targets for religious terrorists, but fit in with the pattern established by Baloh separatists. At the same time, Bhasham seems off the separatists’ beaten track. However, there have been other indications that Baloch separatists have formed an alliance with religious extremists like the TTP. Behind the Baloch separatists is the hand of India’s RAW, which is probably anxious to mend fences with the CIA. The USA has been wary of  India ever since its murder plot against a Indian-born pro-Khalistan US citizen, but sees it as a major bulwark in its fight against China.

Hopefully, the Chinese investigators will help in the effort to establish which non-state actors are behind the attack, and which states are backing them. The Chinese team is also giving advice on what security measures need to be taken. The security must not be so much that it stops its subjects from working, but it must be enough to save their lives. To prevent future attacks, it will be necessary to detect those responsible for this one. It will not suffice, but it will be a useful starting point.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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