Dasu project suspended after attack but Pakistani workers still employed: Chinese FM
Published: Jul 19, 2021 09:23 PM
Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

Construction of the Dasu hydropower station in Pakistan has been suspended after a deadly bus blast killed nine Chinese and four Pakistanis working there, a spokesperson from China's Foreign Ministry said, stressing that the project is an economic cooperative program between China and Pakistan but doesn't belong to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework. 

Zhao Lijian, the ministry's spokesperson, said on Monday that the project will reopen after conditions are ripe, denying rumors that it will halt operations after the deadly accident. The spokesperson also said the project's Pakistani employees are still working here, after some media reported that the project issued a notice terminating employment of Pakistani workers. 

Some Indian media reported earlier that after the accident, work on the Dasu project stopped and employment of all Pakistanis working there was terminated, except for a few basic staff working on project site maintenance and operations.

Zhao said that Pakistan has offered all-out efforts to assist China in investigating the incident and rescuing the injured. Among the 27 Chinese who were hurt in the blast, one was in serious condition, while the rest were recovering, according to Zhao. 

Nine Chinese nationals were killed when the bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the site of the Dasu dam was attacked on Wednesday in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

When asked about the connection between the attack and the "Taliban," and the Afghan Taliban's recent friendly remarks on China, Zhao said that the Afghan Taliban is different from the Pakistani Taliban. The former claims to be a political and military organization, which publicly said it prohibits any individual or organization to use Afghanistan to threaten other countries, and maintains dialogue and contact with the Afghan government, as well as international society. 

However, the Pakistani Taliban is considered by the Pakistani government and international society as a terrorist group, which orchestrated a car bomb in Serena Hotel in Quetta in April, a city where the Chinese ambassador was visiting at the time, said Zhao.

Zhao said China and Pakistan are working closely to find out who is responsible for the attack. 

Zhao Kezhi, Chinese Minister of Public Security, held a phone conversation with  Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Saturday. He said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the attack and hopes China and Pakistan can work together to find out the truth, solve the case as soon as possible, locate the real perpetrators and severely punish the organizers of the attack.

Rashid said that investigation of the bus tragedy has reached its final stage and the perpetrators will be "exposed and brought to justice."

Global Times