Friday’s terror attack on the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, is a warning signal to Beijing and Islamabad, an epitome of the intricate situation in the region thanks to complicated geopolitics. With the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), interference and destructive actions from terrorist groups and foreign forces is an inevitability. The steady and sustained China-Pakistan collaboration will not be shaken, yet facing continuing threats, more response measures must be taken.
The latest raid was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist militant organization based in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and least populated province with the lowest level of economic and social development. The BLA has been stirring up trouble in the area in recent years, advocating for the independence of Balochistan and fighting for more rights and resources from the Pakistani government through armed struggle.
The BLA is only the tip of the iceberg of Pakistan’s security risks. For quite some time, the nation’s overall economic development has been slow, with disputes between civil and military officials occurring from time to time, not to mention constant harassment from the Taliban.
This reality confronting CPEC is a fact which China must face.
How can Beijing ensure smooth development of the project against this backdrop? One key is to continue to promote development there, elevating ordinary people’s living standards so as to improve the social foundation to implement good governance.
The basic capacity of Pakistan’s industry is weak. The country must first of all be able to produce more of the products it needs. In this regard, quite a few Chinese companies have been aiding Pakistan’s development through cooperation. China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) signed contracts for the main civil works of the Dasu Hydropower Project in Islamabad in 2017, which will create approximately 8,000 jobs for local residents while helping to modernize the energy sector of the country.
Another key is to strengthen China-Pakistan security collaboration, especially joint works against terrorism. Over the years, a growing number of Chinese companies have set foot in Pakistan, yet news stories about them being kidnapped, robbed or attacked are not uncommon. There is great potential for the two countries to overcome this predicament. After the latest attack, Chinese people appreciate the heroic sacrifice of the Pakistani police. Apart from that, China is also looking forward to Islamabad’s further investigation into the case, to better protect Chinese people in the country while collaborating with Beijing more efficiently in cracking down on terrorists.
More significantly, the two sides should also be vigilant against forces who attempt to use the attack to drive a wedge in Beijing-Islamabad cooperation. “The attack was intended to scare Chinese investors and undermine CPEC,” said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. More efforts are needed to deal with such evil intention and destabilizing forces.