China Summons Pakistan FM After Imran Khan Govt’s Bus Blast Flip-flop; CPEC Workers Armed

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday announced that he will be leaving for China on Thursday, July 22. China’s summons to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi comes at a time when the Imran Khan-led government ruled out a terror angle in the recent bus explosion that killed 12 people, including nine Chinese nationals. While Pakistani officials blamed the blast as a result of mechanical failure, China came out hard calling it an act of terror.

In fact, the Xi Jinping government did not express their faith in their ‘all-weather ally’ and sent their own team of investigators to Pakistan in a bid to probe a bus explosion. As per the Pakistani news website ARY News, Shah Mehmood Qureshi has been called by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) progress and Dasu Bus explosion incident.

Before Qureshi’s departure for China, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed during a press conference said that the investigation into the Dasu bus tragedy has been completed and China is satisfied with it. Sheikh Rasheed also accused India and Israel of creating misunderstandings between Pakistan and China. Sheikh Rasheed, a known motormouth, has also dismissed the recent abduction of the Afghan envoy’s daughter from Islamabad.

Dasu Bus Blast Rocks Pakistan

At least 12 persons including 9 Chinese citizens were killed at around 7 am on July 14 when a shuttle bus carrying working staff on the Dasu Hydropower Project fell into a ravine following an explosion. Initially, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that a “mechanical failure” resulted in leakage of gas that caused the blast. However, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece Global Times asserted that the explosion was “clearly an act of terrorism that is both carefully planned and supported by information.”

Chinese Engineers Carry Out Maintenance Work At CPEC Project With AK-47 Guns

A number of photographs are going viral on social media which depict Chinese workers carrying out maintenance tasks at various CPEC projects in Pakistan, armed not with their toolkits but AK-47s, to protect themselves. After the deadly attack on a bus carrying Chinese engineers to the Dasu dam site in Upper Kohistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 14 July 2021 and which killed nine Chinese, the Pakistani establishment’s failure to protect Chinese workers has surfaced.

A massive amount of Chinese money has been pumped into creating, training and equipping two Special Security Divisions (SSDs), the 34 and 44 Light Infantry Divisions with 15000 troops each. While the 34 Light Division was created in Sep 2016, 44 Light Division was created in 2020.

Pakistan Army had asked for and received money for equipping these divisions, however they have failed to carry out their duties completely and have been at the receiving end of insurgent attacks, the most deadly being the attack carried out in Ormara on 15 Oct 2020 when 14 Pak Security personnel were dragged out of a bus and killed by Balochi militants.

(Image Credits: AP)