Apex committee to set up information cell, protect Chinese nationals

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The Apex committee on the National Action Plan of Pakistan convened a meeting on Thursday which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by the chief of the army staff, director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence and other security chiefs, federal ministers and military and civil officers. The committee was briefed on the internal security issues and discussed the implementation of the National Action Plan, Pakistan’s action plan to crack down on “terrorism.” During the meeting, the committee decided that Chinese nationals will be provided foolproof security and those attacking them will be harshly treated. 

According to the details, the civil and military leaders unanimously agreed that no one would be allowed to take up arms against the state and no type of troublemaking will be tolerated. The meeting also decided to take tough action actions elements fomenting anti-state agendas. 

Premier Imran Khan later announced in a tweet that the Apex committee has also decided to form a National Crisis Information Management cell to “ensure timely, correct and smooth flow of information about internal security issues.” The management cell will be chaired by the federal ministers of the interior and information. 

The Apex committee also discussed the security arrangements for foreign citizens – Chinese nationals specifically – and vowed to provide them maximum protection. The committee said that the elements attacking the Chinese nationals will be dealt with harshly. 

Thursday’s meeting comes a few weeks after Chinese engineers were targeted in a suicide attack by the Baloch Liberation Army, an ethno-nationalist armed outfit struggling for independence from Pakistan. In an ensuing statement, BLA claimed that one of its fighters, 21-year-old Sarbuland Baloch, targeted the Chinese nationals in Gwadar in a suicide attack that resulted in 9 casualties, including six Chinese engineers. 

The Gwadar attack was preceded by another attack in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where a bus carrying Chinese nationals fell into a cavern after being hit with a blast. 13 Chinese citizens died in the attack.

Chinese nationals travelling through Balochistan and some parts of Sindh have been frequently targeted by Baloch “pro-independence” groups for their involvement in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the multi-billion dollar flagship project of China’s expansionist Belt and Road Initiative to dominate the global trade. The CPEC is centred in the coastal city of Gwadar and once completed, it will give China a short and efficient way to connect to the world. 

Baloch nationalists claim that China and Pakistan are looting the resources of Balochistan and giving little or no share to its inhabitants in return.


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