Chinese firm stops working at Pakistan’s Dasu project after bus incident


ISLAMABAD – The Chinese company working on the Dasu Hydropower Project has announced to halt work on the site due to security concerns.

The China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC)  has laid off all except essential Pakistani workers. It said that the decision has been taken due to the July 14 incident in which 13 people including nine Chinese nationals were killed.

The CGGC in a letter said that it will pay salary and gratuity to the laid-off employees as per their contract.

Project Director Anwarul Haq, according to local media, has confirmed the development, adding that the work will be resumed as the security situation improves.

15 Chinese official part of inquiry team

Earlier today, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that 15 Chinese authorities have been added to the continuing inquiry into the Dasu bus tragedy.

Sheikh Rashid told a news briefing in Islamabad that a 15-member team of Chinese investigators arrived yesterday and spoke with security agency officials at the incident site.

“The investigation of the event is at its final stages and the highest institutions of Pakistan are investigating it. Fifteen individuals from China have been included [in the investigation] as well,” the interior minister said.

Sheikh Rashid said that the Chinese government had been notified of the situation and was being kept up to date when new information became available.

“We completely reassure the Chinese government that these culprits, hidden hands and enemies of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and China-Pakistan friendship will never be forgiven at any cost.”

Thirteen people were killed and 28 others were wounded 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 on Wednesday. The victims included nine Chinese nationals, two Frontier Constabulary personnel, and two locals.

Terrorism can’t be ruled out

A day after the Foreign Office described the incident as an accident, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry stating that “terrorism could not be ruled out” in the Dasu incident.

“Initial investigations into Dassu incident have now confirmed traces of explosives, terrorism cannot be ruled out, PM is personally supervising all developments, in this regard Govt is in close coordination with Chinese embassy we are committed to fight menace of terrorism together,” Fawad Chaudhry wrote on Twitter.

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