Islamabad and Beijing have decided to beef up the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and counter the agendas of ‘hostile elements’ trying to occlude the multi-billion-dollar flagship project, reported state-run radio on Monday.
The two countries reached the understanding in the 9th meeting of the Joint Working Group on Safety and Security of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a group comprising Chinese and Pakistani officials aiming to ensure the safety of the CPEC. In the meeting, which took place in the Chinese embassy, both sides reiterated that ensuring the safety of the CPEC projects is crucial in furthering bilateral relations.
The panel also acknowledged Pakistan’s role in countering the violence targeting Chinese nationals throughout the country and protecting Chinese interests in the region. Furthermore, both sides conceded to beefing up the security of various CPEC projects and promoting cooperation between law enforcement agencies.
It should be noted that the Baloch pro-independence groups have targeted the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in numerous attacks over the years. Majeed Brigade, BLA’s elite unit specializing in suicide attacks, has targeted Chinese nationals and interests in multiple attacks, drawing international attention.
Majeed Brigade’s most recent attack came in April this year when the group targeted the teachers of the China-run Confucius Institute at Karachi University, killing four, including three Chinese professors. In a subsequent statement, the Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that it was carried out by Shari Baloch, the first female fidayee of the group.
BLA claimed that it has hundreds of highly-trained soldiers who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the Baloch nation, and warned Beijing that if it did not back off from its ‘imperialist’ projects in Balochistan, it would suffer the consequences.
According to a report published by Nikkei Asia, a Tokyo-based newspaper, China’s Ministry of Interior asked Pakistan to allow a private Chinese security company to provide security to Chinese citizens in the country. Pakistan reportedly rejected the proposal, but experts argue that Beijing would continue to press Islamabad until it capitulates.