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Opinions of Saturday, 21 August 2021

Columnist: Samuel Baid

Who is responsible for terror against Chinese workers in Pak?

An explosive-laden Car rammed into one of the two shuttle buses carrying Chinese workers An explosive-laden Car rammed into one of the two shuttle buses carrying Chinese workers

Amid reports of some decrease in China’s warmth towards its all-weather ally Pakistan, a tragedy occurred in Dasu in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa on July 14 killing 13 people including nine Chinese engineers.

Over-conscious about its image, Pakistan at once claimed it was an accident. China promptly rejected this claim and said it was an act of terror against its nationals and that it would investigate the matter itself – thus running down the capability of the host country’s intelligence agencies. Succumbing to Chinese rejection, Pakistan later agreed it was an act of terrorism.

Pakistan had initially said the Chinese workers had died when their bus fell into a ravine due to mechanical failure. It omitted the most important fact that these Chinese were working with the Dasu Hydropower Project on the Indus River in Kohistan meant to feed the projects connected with the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

A Dawn editorial says that an explosive-laden Car rammed into one of the two shuttle buses carrying Chinese workers. It said though the bomb was not detonated with full force, the driver of the second bus lost control and the bus plunged into the ravine.

The Chinese are disgusted with frequently telling the Pakistani government to ensure their workers’ security.

The known attackers of Chinese workers are Baluch militants who oppose the CPEC which grabs Baluchistan’s Gwadar coast besides its land for western route that runs from Gwadar to Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashgarh in China’s province of Xinjiang.

The Chinese must be aware that all along this route terrorism against Chinese interests has been simmering.

It is quite possible that Pakistan is not adequately aware of the threat to Chinese interests in Gilgit-Baltistan together with its adjoining Kohistan. Gilgit-Baltistan has territorial claims to Kohistan, while Khyber Pakhtunkhawa rejects it. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) rules both Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa but the dispute remains unresolved.

In the meantime, Mujahideen of both sides have formed a joint organization called “Mujahideen Gilgit-Baltistan –Kohistan,” commanded by one Habibur Rahman, according to media reports. The reports said that it was this organization which attacked the bus carrying Chinese engineers.

Whatever the Chinese investigation team concludes about this terror incident may not be made public unless they want to embarrass Pakistan for laxity in its duty towards the security of thousands of Chinese workers in this country. But it is unfair on the part of China to put all the blame on Pakistan.

Pakistan is told to fight the fire which it is itself fuelling to de-Islamize Muslims in China, particularly in Muslim majority Xinjang. The anger in Muslim majority Pakistan has begun to seep through the country though the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan supports the Chinese treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang and the captive media pretends that nothing amiss is happening in the neighborhood. The media ignores all the sob stories of Uyghur Muslims, who have escaped to Pakistan from Xinjiang, have to tell them. Anything that puts China in bad light is treason against Pakistan.

The Dasu terrorist attack on Chinese is a clear signal that anti-China feelings are not just confined to the people of Baluchistan. These feelings are spreading in Gilgit-Baltistan, parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and other parts of Pakistan. There are basically two reasons for this phenomenon (i) China is going ahead with its de-Islamisation campaign keeping world Muslim leaders on its side; (ii) Pakistan searches and arrests Uyghur Muslims in the country to be handed over to Chinese authorities- maybe, for a consideration as Gen Pervez Musharraf used to catch Muslim militants to be sold to the United States (see his “In the Line of Fire”).

China is mainly to blame for the emergence of anti-China terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistan can be blamed only to the extent of causing revolting reaction by suppressing Pakistani Muslim’s anger against China’s open treatment of Muslim traditions and practices with the aim of erasing very Islam, initially in Xinjiang, then in the rest of China and ultimately in all China’s debt-trapped poor countries.

There is a no denying the fact that western countries have been showing Islamophobia after the 9/11 terror in New York and Washington. But there is no evidence of any western country trying to erase Islam. On the contrary, many Christians in Europe have become Muslims after 9/11.

Ironically, the Chinese anti-Islam campaign has been going on with the connivance of some big leaders. Among them is Pakistan, which calls itself the citadel of Islam. China has convinced world Muslim leaders that Uyghur Muslims are terrorists.

Imran has often expressed his country’s subservience to China by standing by its persecution of Uyghur Muslims. It is helping Chinese efforts to cleans Gilgit-Baltistan of Uyghurs Muslims to escape from Chinese terror in Xinjiang to seek refuge in Pakistan.

Intelligence is leaked to the Chinese informed of their movements. It is but natural for Uyghurs to come under the influence of militants in adjoining Kohistan.

Uyghur truants from Xinjiang, militants in Kohistan and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Pakistan zealots.