Army chief assures ‘full security’ to Chinese citizens working in Pakistan

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, on Monday met Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters to discuss the recent bus tragedy in Kohistan, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The meeting was held in the backdrop of the July 14 incident in which at least nine Chinese nationals and four locals were killed and 28 others sustained injuries when a coach carrying them to an under-construction tunnel site of the 4,300-megawatt Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in the Upper Kohistan area after an explosion.

Discussing the matter in the meeting today, the Chinese ambassador and Gen Bajwa stressed the need to “thwart designs of all inimical forces challenging the resolve of Pakistan and China, particularly strategic cooperation between the two sides."

The army chief extended heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to the government of China and its people on the incident, underlining that “Pakistan Army greatly values its brotherly relations” with its time-tested friend.

Gen Bajwa also assured full cooperation and security of Chinese citizens working in Pakistan.The ISPR said both the sides agreed on the need for continuous engagement and coordination for peace and stability in the region.

Following the incident on July 14, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had issued a statement, saying “China is shocked & saddened at reports of casualties in the incident in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. We mourn for those who lost their lives & express sympathy to their families & the injured.”

It had also advised the Chinese living in Pakistan to “stay on alert, pay close attention to the local security situation, strengthen security protection, take strict precautions, and stop going out unless necessary”.

Later, a team comprising at least 15 Chinese investigators had also arrived in Pakistan and joined the officials probing the incident.