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“The Indomitable Spirit of China-Pakistan Cooperation”

Qamar Bashir

By: Qamar Bashir

The tragic incident that deeply shook the core of the Pakistani nation was the malicious, deceitful, and heartless attack on our Chinese  brothers. These selfless individuals left behind their homeland, families, and loved ones to contribute to the construction of vital energy, transport, and communication infrastructure in remote areas of our country, far from the bustling urban centers. They dedicated their days, weeks, and years to this noble cause, with the sole aim of providing a conducive environment for all Pakistanis to enjoy reliable electricity, safe transportation on well-constructed roads, highways, and motorways, and access to efficient public transport systems such as Metro bus services, green buses, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The attack on them not only robbed us of invaluable lives but also struck at the heart of our collective aspirations for progress and development.

The enemy, driven by ulterior motives, callously disregarded the longstanding tradition of Pakistani hospitality, which dictates that even the fiercest adversary’s guests should be protected and cared for. The ruthless and heartless terrorists, with their stone-eyed resolve, cowardly attacked innocent, unarmed Chinese civilians around 1 p.m. on March 26 near Bisham, resulting in the martyrdom of five Chinese nationals and one Pakistani working on the Dasu Hydropower Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Their sole aim was to strike at the heart of our nation by targeting our Chinese friends, who selflessly offer their assistance to our country without seeking anything in return.

The profound bonds of friendship and brotherhood with our Chinese allies are treasured and esteemed deeply. Their unwavering support and genuine gestures of affection resonate profoundly within our hearts. The enemy, recognizing the significance of our relationship, maliciously targeted our Chinese friends, knowing that such an act would evoke intense pain, sorrow, and outrage across every corner of Pakistan. This collective anguish transcends geographical, social, and governmental boundaries, profoundly impacting every Pakistani who holds our Chinese brothers and sisters close to their hearts.

In times of adversity, our Chinese counterparts have consistently extended their helping hands to us, demonstrating unwavering support and solidarity without any expectation of reciprocity. They epitomize true family members, standing by us through thick and thin. The cowardly attack not only inflicted physical harm but also inflicted a deep wound on the collective spirit of our nation, serving as a stark reminder of the invaluable bond we share with our Chinese brethren.

What the enemy failed to comprehend is that the bond between the Chinese and Pakistanis transcends mere material considerations—it is a connection of blood and soul. The people of both nations are intertwined as one body and one soul. When any part of this body is harmed, the entire entity feels the pain. However, rather than driving a wedge between us, cowardly attacks only serve to strengthen our resolve and deepen our unity.

In the face of such heinous and reprehensible acts, the consequences could have been dire if they had targeted nationals of any other country. There may have been swift actions such as the withdrawal of nationals from Pakistan, issuance of travel advisories, halting of ongoing projects, and advisories to cease business activities with Pakistan. Threatening statements may have been issued, placing blame on Pakistan and its security forces for failing to protect their citizens and workers within the country.

The statement issued by the articulate spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry stood in stark contrast to what might have been expected from any other nation under similar circumstances. Strongly condemning the terrorist attack, the spokesperson reaffirmed the unwavering bond between China and Pakistan, describing them as “all-weather strategic cooperative partners” and “iron-clad brothers.” Furthermore, the spokesperson emphasized the critical role of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan’s socio economic development, asserting that no attempt to undermine this cooperation would succeed.

Expressing China’s staunch opposition to terrorism in all its forms, the spokesperson reiterated firm support for Pakistan in its fight against terrorism. Promising even stronger commitment to safeguard the safety and security of Chinese personnel, projects, and institutions in Pakistan, the statement delivered a resounding message to the terrorists and their backers.

This robust and unequivocal response undoubtedly dealt a significant blow to the terrorists and their network of masterminds, handlers, financiers, abettors, and facilitators. It must have left them feeling frustrated and dejected, as their sinister aims and objectives were thwarted. The statement served as a powerful deterrent, rendering their strategy, planning, financial resources, and human assets futile in the face of unwavering solidarity between China and Pakistan.

The heartless terrorists are undoubtedly well aware of the formidable prowess, professional competence, and the far-reaching effectiveness of the Pakistani armed forces and security forces. Once a target is set, they execute their operations with meticulous planning and finesse. Retribution for such cowardly acts will not be delayed. 

These terrorists are also cognizant of the history of the Pakistani military, which has a track record of delivering swift and decisive responses. From repelling Indian aggression to defending the nation’s sovereignty against incursions from Iran and Afghanistan, the Pakistani armed forces have demonstrated their strength and resolve time and again. 

Furthermore, the same military force stood resilient against the might of the USSR during its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Not only did Pakistan resist the invasion, but it also played a pivotal role in ultimately defeating and dismantling the USSR, freeing numerous nations from its dominance in the process.

It’s only a matter of time before the long arm of our security forces tracks down the perpetrators of this heinous and cowardly attack whose target wasn’t an equal adversary but innocent, unarmed civilians. This wasn’t an act of bravery or gallantry, but one of cowardice and cunning. Rest assured, such actions will not go unpunished, regardless of the cost.

The highest echelons of Pakistani leadership, both civilian and armed forces deeply aggrieved, hurt and anguished by these cowardly attacks has also set in place an elaborate mechanism to rootout terrorism once for all. This includes full activation of the fourteen-point National Action Plan which unanimously conceived after the APS Peshawar incident played a pivotal role in defeating terrorism on our soil.

Furthermore, tighter and foolproof border control measures will be enforced to halt the cross-border movement of terrorists. Efforts to push out illegal aliens will be intensified to shrink the space for abettors and facilitators of terrorism. Both foreign and local facilitators and abettors will be held accountable and brought to justice. Moreover, all safe havens and sanctuaries of terrorists will be identified and neutralized.

Equally aggressive actions are likely to be initiated on the diplomatic front  to garner international support in countering terrorism and addressing its root causes. Diplomatically, Pakistan will engage in active diplomacy by convening multilateral forums such as the United Nations and regional organizations to advocate for collective action against terrorism.

Politically, Pakistan is working to address the root causes of terrorism by promoting socio economic development, education, and by  implementing policies aimed at reducing poverty, inequality, and marginalization, which are often exploited by extremist groups to recruit followers.

Furthermore, Pakistan actively counters extremist narratives and propaganda through public diplomacy campaigns and religious outreach programs by challenging extremist ideologies through education and media initiatives.

Despite the cowardly act of terrorism targeting our esteemed Chinese brothers and sisters, and irrespective of the outcomes of kinetic and diplomatic counter-terrorism efforts, the enduring friendship between China and Pakistan, along with the profound bond of love and affection between the Chinese and Pakistani people, will only grow stronger with each passing day.

By: Qamar Bashir

Press Secretary to the President(Rtd)

Former Press Minister at Embassy of Pakistan to France

Former MD, SRBC

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