Friday, May 06, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal announced on Friday that a security review meeting will be held every month on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
A statement issued by the Planning Ministry said that the directives were issued by Iqbal while chairing a meeting to review the security progress on CPEC projects. The meeting was attended by the secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the secretary Ministry of Interior, the secretary Ministry of Information, and other relevant stakeholders.
Iqbal urged the need to build a “safe and secure environment for CPEC and to effectively tackle kinetic and non-kinetic challenges”.
“CPEC is a flagship project of Pakistan & China Economic Cooperation which can enable Pakistan to become an industrial economy. It is unfortunate that the momentum of 2013-18 could not be sustained,” said the minister.
He also expressed concern that Pakistan's side of CPEC's Joint Working Group on Security was also not holding meetings frequently. He directed the Interior Ministry to regularly convene its meetings on a monthly basis.
The planning minister also emphasised that National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) should function as per its laid role and objectives so the government can be provided with an “in-depth assessment of security challenges that are grounded in the socio-economic of the country”.
“It will help the government to expand its security lens by addressing socio-economic grievances of the people that may if left unaddressed translate into security challenges. Our security lens must also focus on limiting the vulnerability of our youth towards violence, extremism and propaganda,” said the minister.
Iqbal also directed all line ministries to ensure that laid down security protocols are followed by the Chinese nationals working on the CPEC. Furthermore, the Minister stated that propaganda against CPEC is an attempt to deny people of less developed regions in Pakistan from positive socio-economic externalises that will stem from CPEC.
The orders for holding monthly security meeting comes after four people, including three Chinese nationals, were killed while four others sustained injuries in a car explosion on the premises of the University of Karachi.
According to the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), it was a suicide blast and was carried out by a burqa-clad woman.
The explosion occurred at 1:52pm in a van near the Confucius Institute — a Chinese language teaching centre at Karachi University. Following the blast, rescue and security agencies rushed to the location and cordoned off the areas, initiating rescue operations.
The deceased Chinese nationals have been identified as the director of the Confucius Institute Huang Guiping, Ding Mupeng, Chen Sai, and their Pakistani driver, Khalid.