Threats against CPEC, Pakistan-China ties
Last Friday was another sad day for Pakistan in the history of its war against terrorism when the country faced two deadly terror incidents.
In the morning of that day, heavily armed terrorists launched blatant gun-and-grenade attacks on the Chinese consulate in Karachi city that claimed the lives of two police officials and two visa applicants.
The brave Pakistani police officer Suhai Aziz Talpur successfully led police operations against the terrorists. Due to this timely response by the police and paramilitary forces, they foiled the terrorist attack, killed three militants and managed to avoid more casualties and devastation.
On that same day Pakistan faced another deadly terrorist attack, where at least 34 innocent people were killed and 36 others wounded in the Orakzai tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The terrorist attack against the Chinese consulate received widespread condemnation from top civil and military leadership and civil society in Pakistan. The prime objective of the terrorists was to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and to harm Pakistan-China relations. Some elements are constantly involved in hatching conspiracies against CPEC and the Pakistan-China friendship.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered a complete inquiry into the incident and he called it part of the conspiracy against Pakistan and China's economic and strategic cooperation. He reiterated his resolve that Pakistan will ensure the protection and safety of CPEC projects and Chinese workers and institutions in Pakistan. China also strongly condemned the incident and appreciated the efforts made by Pakistan to safeguard CPEC and the safety of Chinese citizens in Pakistan.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that the Pakistani side took timely and effective measures to protect the safety of the premises and staff of the Chinese consulate-general, and the Pakistani security personnel even lost their lives in the shootout. He said that China highly appreciates the efforts made by Pakistan, mourns for the Pakistani security personnel who were killed in the line of duty, and sends condolences to the bereaved families and those injured.
Peoples from both countries lauded the bravery of the two policemen who embraced martyrdom in protection of precious lives in the Chinese consulate.
A large number of people shared the photographs of the martyred policemen on social media and paid glowing tributes to them. They reiterated that the Pakistan-China friendship cannot be spoiled by such nefarious attacks. The Chinese community in Pakistan voluntarily arranged for monetary donations to the families of the martyred policemen and people donated generously.
Many Chinese netizens also participated in this activity and submitted donations online for families of the martyred policemen. Through their videos and photographs on social media, they also said that “we sincerely thank the Pakistani police for the successful operation… and the China-Pakistan friendship cannot be deterred by such terrorism” and expressed their best wishes for complete peace and stability in Pakistan.
Pakistani media and netizens widely shared photographs of donations by Chinese citizens and admired their great gestures and their affection and sympathy for the families of the martyred soldiers.
These gestures show that the Pakistan-China friendship is strong and deeply rooted in the hearts of the people of both countries, who sent a strong message to the terrorists that their efforts in damaging the Pakistan-China friendship will never succeed.
In the past several years, Pakistan has made significant achievements in its ongoing war against terrorists. Pakistan launched decisive and indiscriminate military action against terrorists and dismantled all their hideouts and networks which were located near the Pakistan-Afghan border. Some terrorists managed to run away, crossing the border and installed their hideouts there.
Due to these successful security operations conducted by the Pakistan Army, law and order in Pakistan has significantly improved and now the situation is under good control.
Pakistan has rendered huge sacrifices in the war against terrorism and it has faced great physical and economic losses. According to some studies, more than 70,000 Pakistanis -- including officers and soldiers of security forces -- lost their lives in this war against terrorism and also Pakistan’s economy faced around $123 billion in losses.
Pakistan shares a long, porous and difficult border with Afghanistan and continuous instability in Afghanistan is greatly affecting the stability in Pakistan.
Currently the Pakistan Army is fencing the border with Afghanistan to stop the cross-border movement of terrorists. The completion of this project will be very helpful in further improving the security situation in the country.
Afghanistan should also cooperate with Pakistan in tackling this common challenge to permanently eliminate the menace of terrorism. Sincere efforts from international community are needed to resolve the lingering Afghanistan problem. Military operations led by United States, which have lasted for more than a decade and a half, have failed to produce peace and stability in this war-ravaged country.
Stability in Afghanistan is imperative for peace in the whole region including Pakistan. The recent terror incidents show that Pakistan’s war against terrorism has not ended yet and it still needs a logical conclusion. Despite everything, the relevant Pakistani institutions are leaving no stone unturned in combating terrorism and internal and external threats against CPEC. Due to these efforts, the smooth implementation on CPEC projects is underway without any hindrances.
Since the launch of CPEC, Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies have fully ensured the safety of the projects and Chinese workers. Reports suggest that Pakistan will further boost its security and will take steps to guard CPEC projects and Chinese workers in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s struggle against terrorism is going on with a good pace and positive direction, and it is hoped the day will come soon when it will defeat all security threats and become a complete and peaceful society.
Pakistan should also make maximum use of modern and smart technology to counter such terror threats. The utilization of artificial intelligence and big-data technologies can help Pakistan to boost public security and reduce security threats. This technology is now being successfully used in the modern world including China and it is producing good results.
It is believed that Pakistan and China will jointly crush all external threats against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a basic pillar of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The smooth implementation of CPEC will greatly benefit both countries and the entire region.
The author is a researcher and journalist working for Independent News Pakistan.