In an unexpected, but also not shocking development, China has asked for hefty compensation from Pakistan. The Paper Dragons are said to be seeking compensation for their dead engineers at the Dasu Dam Project.
China will not pay for Pakistan’s misdeeds from its pocket
According to a report published in Business Recorder, a financial newspaper in Pakistan, the Chinese government has asked the Pakistani establishment to pay $38 million. Allegedly, the communist government has asked for compensation for deceased Chinese workers and engineers, who had died in a bomb blast en route to their job on 14h July 2021.
Citing sources, the report explains that a high-level steering committee, which comprises secretaries of various ministries, has been formed. This committee has formed a collaboration group to look into the issue of compensation. The collaboration group consisting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Water Resources are constantly in talks with the Chinese embassy over the issue.
The bomb blast halted the project
A total of 13 people had died in a bomb blast on 14th July 2021 in the Dasu area of Upper Kohistan District in Pakistan. At least 9 of them were Chinese engineers and workers who were working on Dasu Hydropower Project. The bus carrying these Chinese nationals to their project site fell into a ravine after colliding with a car full of explosives, killing 13 and injuring 28. The Chinese had halted the 4,300-megawatt project after the attack.
The project won’t restart until the compensation is paid
China is threatening to not restart the project until the compensation is paid to their workers. The Business Recorder further states that the Chinese firm, China Gezhouba Group Corp, which was running the project has made an announcement to restart the project. However, there has been no development on the ground as the company has asked for compensation as well as increased security measures for its workers. The announcement of restarting the project seems to be intended to soothe Pakistani officials on the issue.
China finally realising the perils of allying with Pakistan
Pakistan being forced to compensate its Chinese masters does not really come as a surprise. Pakistan and China promoted a Frankenstein Monster called Taliban to encircle India from all corners. But, after establishing themselves at the helm of affairs in Afghanistan, the Taliban released almost 4,000 terrorists of Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) who work against Pakistan. Moreover, the Taliban doubled down on its efforts to form a greater Afghanistan with the Pashtun majority. Along with TTP, the Afghan Taliban is galvanising Pashtuns from North Waziristan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and other areas of Pakistan to fulfill its dream. Earlier TTP only targeted Pakistani nationals and the army to foster their agendas, now since China is in close collusion with Pakistan, TTP is not showing any leniency towards the Chinese as well. In April this year, TTP carried out a deadly explosion in Pakistan-occupied Balochistan’s Quetta. Similarly, Quetta’s Serena hotel, which was hosting eminent Chinese personalities, was attacked by suicide bombers.
Terrorists, ethnic groups-China is enemy for everyone inside Pakistan
Not just terrorist groups, various ethnic groups such as Balochs and Sinds demanding their separation from murderous Pakistani states have also vowed to target Chinese investment in Pakistan. Simply put, the Gwadar Port is the backbone of the China-Pakistan economic corridor, as China aims to militarise the port. Since the port lies on the southwestern coast of Balochistan, the Baloch freedom fighters are up in arms against the Chinese as well as Pakistani establishment. Just two weeks after the aforementioned Bus attack, a Chinese national was specially targeted and killed in Karachi. Similarly, in August 2021, a suicide attack targeted towards Chinese nationals killed 2 children and injured 3 others in Gwadar.
Seeing how the Taliban is drifting away from the hands of Pakistan and the strengthening bond between Tehrik-i-Taliban and the Afghan Taliban, China is fearful of losing the strategic significance of BRI as well as CPEC. Moreover, the rising Islamic fundamentalism in the region can snowball into Uyghurs taking up arms against China. China has invested all its eggs in the Pakistani basket, and the communist nation can’t draw its hands out of it. China will now have to choose between its citizens’ lives and its strategic interest.