China and Pakistan — often touted as the ‘Iron Brothers’ — have enjoyed cordial relations for the past few years. However, things are changing as the promised benefits of Chinese investment have failed to materialize.
Firstly, the benign perception in the minds of the Pakistani people is shifting quite rapidly. Secondly, the Chinese are getting perturbed by the worsening security situation in the country, threatening the focal point of this relation i.e the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The local community has been severely impacted by illegal fishing carried out by Chinese trawlers and the forced takeover of their region with military might.
With skirmishes coming out into the streets and people challenging the armed soldiers openly, the Pakistan authorities have been alarmed by the delays in the execution of the CPEC projects. Even the Chinese professionals working on the key infrastructure projects have expressed concerns about security.
According to Policy Research Group (Poreg), the extensive security apparatus in Balochistan and other CPEC areas has been both a cause as well as a reaction to this extremism, with numerous suicide bombings and other attacks targeting Chinese nationals and projects.
Against this backdrop, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday ordered the tightening of security for Chinese nationals working on the CPEC projects.
The Pakistani PM gave the order while chairing a meeting with Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal and other top officials in the wake of the recent suicide attack in Karachi which killed three Chinese nationals, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Sharif said that there will be no compromise on the security of Chinese residents and directed the interior ministry and security agencies to ensure foolproof security, the report said.
According to Poreg, the financial implications of the CPEC have been immense.
At USD 62 billion the amount approaches 20 per cent of the country’s GDP and due to setbacks and allegations of large-scale corruption. This is leading to growing reluctance from Chinese investors in funding projects citing due arrears from the Pakistani government. (ANI)