Friday September 17, 2021

Dasu dam

July 20, 2021

After the mysterious attack on a bus near Dasu dam – in which nine Chinese nationals and three Pakistanis were killed and 28 others injured – work on the dam project was suspended pending improved security for Chinese engineers and workers. Both China and Pakistan have, however, vowed to continue cooperating closely to face such challenges together. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong have visited the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Rawalpindi and inquired after the well-being of the Chinese nationals injured in the Dasu incident. The support that China has provided to Pakistan in initiating and completing various projects across Pakistan is commendable and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has emerged as a flagship milestone. The road to better cooperation between the two countries has also enraged certain people both nationally and internationally. Those who are not happy at the close ties of the two neighbours have been trying to create hurdles in the smooth progress and completion of bilateral projects.

It is heartening to note that China and Pakistan have quickly come together to encourage the Chinese company to restore the employment contract of Pakistan personnel working on the Dasu Hydropower project. The company has issued a new notification to cancel the termination of the employment of Pakistani nationals working on the project. The CPEC projects are a major source of employment for Pakistani nationals and any such development that jeopardizes their prospects of working on these projects will be a negative turn. To complete the project in a timely manner, there has to be foolproof security arrangements and any negligence may result in more untoward incidents.

There have been conflicting reports about the cause of the incident, from a ‘mechanical failure’ to ‘a terrorist attack’. The ongoing investigation into this incident will ascertain the cause but irrespective of whatever caused the incident, a high level of security is necessary for such projects to be completed and play their role in the development of the country. The Dasu project is likely to generate over 4,300 megawatts of electricity when completed and is a significant component of the CPEC plan.