ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has deployed a total of 17,177 security personnel from the army and other security forces to ensure foolproof security of Chinese nationals working on the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, The News has learnt.
Official sources said on Monday that the Pakistani authorities have assured the Chinese of taking all necessary measures for ensuring the safety of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan that includes the establishment of a Special Security Division (SSD) comprising nine composite infantry battalions (9,000 personnel) and six civilian armed forces (CAFs) wings (6,000 personnel) to be headed by a serving major-general of the Pakistan Army.
Pakistan’s security apparatus has time and again also asked the Chinese side to put in place the much-needed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to maximise security arrangements by ensuring the prior knowledge of security officials of the movement of Chinese personnel so that proper arrangements could be put in place to foil any unwarranted happenings.
"The SSD has become operational in many parts of the country including Gwadar to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals deployed on each and every project under the CPEC initiative,” said the top official, and added that the security arrangements had immense importance to make this project successful.
The Pakistan government had already placed two projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2015-16 for raising 22 additional wings of the civil armed forces with an estimated cost of Rs7.546 billion and through another project raising six additional wings of the CAF with a cost of Rs2.350 billion so the total cost of projects stood in the range of Rs10 billion. This cost might go up by 20 to 30 percent with the inclusion of escalated land cost.
The Gwadar Security Task Force, the sources said, has already been mobilised under the command of a serving brigadier of the Pakistan Army. To enhance the protection and security of the Gwadar region, the government has decided to make it a safe city and preparations for a project worth billions of rupees is underway in collaboration with the Balochistan government. The cost of the project has not yet been finalised but the federal government may bear its cost with the province on the basis of cost sharing at 50/50 percent. “A safe city project is under development in coordination with Balochistan. A PC-1 in this regard has been prepared,” said the official.—Originally published in The News