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Unveiling Dynamics: Safeguarding Chinese Interests in Pakistan

Unveiling Dynamics: Safeguarding Chinese Interests in Pakistan

Economic cooperation between China and Pakistan has undoubtedly advanced, yet we must remain vigilant as security challenges persist, posing significant concerns for Chinese investments and personnel within the country

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Beijing will undoubtedly prioritize discussions on enhancing security measures to safeguard our bilateral interests

Syed Ali Nawaz Gilani

The recent focus on safeguarding the safety and security of Chinese nationals and investments within Pakistan underscores the enduring partnership between the two nations. As the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) continues to serve as a cornerstone of their cooperation, it is imperative to prioritize the protection of Chinese interests in Pakistani territory.

Recent events have highlighted the evolving security challenges facing Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan. In response, Pakistani authorities have recognized the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate risks and enhance the environment for Chinese engagement. This includes fostering trust and collaboration between the two nations to sustain bilateral cooperation and advance mutual prosperity and stability.

The commitment of Pakistani authorities to upholding the safety of Chinese investments reaffirms the depth of the partnership and its dedication to mutual prosperity and stability. By emphasizing the importance of close collaboration with Chinese counterparts, Pakistan is demonstrating its proactive stance towards ensuring the security of Chinese nationals and projects within its borders.

The strategic alliance between Pakistan and China remains strong, with both nations committed to creating a safe and secure environment for Chinese engagement in Pakistan. As the partnership continues to evolve, it is crucial for both countries to work together to address security challenges and uphold the principles of mutual prosperity and stability. In doing so, the enduring partnership between Pakistan and China will only grow stronger, laying the foundation for continued cooperation and economic development in the region.

Worth mentioning that Pakistan and China share a longstanding relationship marked by cooperation in various domains, including trade, infrastructure development, and strategic alliances. Recent developments, however, have unveiled both opportunities and challenges in this bilateral partnership. This article delves into three significant developments shaping Pakistan-China relations, ranging from the reopening of the Khunjerab border to security challenges faced by Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan.

The Khunjerab border, situated at a staggering altitude of approximately 15,000 feet above sea level, serves as the sole land crossing connecting Pakistan with China. After four months of closure due to snowfall, the border reopened for traffic, facilitating bilateral trade and tourism. This development not only signifies the resumption of economic activities but also underscores the resilience of Pakistan-China relations despite seasonal challenges. As per the protocol agreement of 1985, the border remains closed from December 1 to March 31 annually. However, the recent reopening indicates the commitment of both nations to bolster connectivity and foster economic exchanges.

Pakistan and China are on the verge of finalizing modalities for third-party participation in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), aimed at enhancing the project’s regional scope and attracting additional investors. The draft shared by the Chinese side outlines general principles and objectives for third-party involvement, emphasizing inclusivity, mutual benefits, and government-led steering of CPEC. This move reflects a strategic shift towards broader regional connectivity and economic integration, with CPEC serving as an open platform for cooperation. The establishment of the Joint Working Group on International Cooperation and Coordination underscores the collaborative efforts to streamline third-party participation and ensure sustainable development.

While economic cooperation between China and Pakistan has made great progress, security challenges continue to be a significant concern for Chinese investments and personnel in the country. The recent suicide bombing targeting Chinese engineers at the Dasu hydropower project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province serves as a grim reminder of the risks faced by foreign nationals. The attack, claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), underscores the complex security environment in Pakistan, plagued by insurgency and jihadist activities.

Additionally, the thwarted attempt to breach the Gwadar Port Authority compound further highlights the diverse threats facing Chinese interests in Pakistan. To ensure the safety of their investments and personnel, it is crucial for Chinese companies to implement robust security measures and conduct a strategic reassessment of their operations in the region.

The recent attack targeting Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan has implications for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Beijing. It is likely that the focus of the visit will shift towards evaluating the effectiveness of current security measures for Chinese residents and projects in Pakistan. Additionally, the summary highlights the grievances of Baloch separatists towards Chinese involvement in projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These grievances stem from concerns about marginalization, economic deprivation, and inadequate development in Balochistan despite its resource richness. The lack of tangible benefits from CPEC in Balochistan has fueled resentment and enabled separatist groups to exploit local grievances for recruitment and propaganda. Moreover, the targeting of Chinese interests by jihadist groups and Baloch separatists poses challenges for Pakistan’s government in convincing Beijing to initiate new projects. To address these challenges, the summary suggests that addressing Baloch grievances and collaborating with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to tackle security threats are essential steps towards improving the situation.

The recent developments in Pakistan-China relations underscore both the opportunities and challenges inherent in this strategic partnership. While the reopening of the Khunjerab border signifies resilience and cooperation, security concerns pose formidable obstacles to economic development and regional connectivity, particularly within the ambit of CPEC. As Pakistan navigates these complexities, addressing security imperatives, fostering inclusive growth, and mitigating grievances will be crucial in sustaining the momentum of bilateral cooperation and realizing the shared vision of prosperity and stability in the region.

(The author is the Secretary General of the Pakistan-China Friendship Association, serving in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chapter, and is also a foreign affairs analyst and media advisor based in Peshawar. For further inquiries or correspondence, he can be contacted via email at [email protected].)






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