The Pakistan Army will raise another division-size special force to protect Chinese nationals and projects under the CPEC, military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor has said, days after the brazen terror attack on a luxury hotel in Balochistan. Describing the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a living example of deep-rooted friendship between Pakistan and China, Major General Ghafoor, Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), said the Pakistan Army was fully determined to ensure the security of the project.
Talking to the Chinese media in Rawalpindi on Saturday, he said the Pakistan military had raised a whole division-size force to protect the project and they were planning to deploy another division for this purpose.
Earlier reports said a Special Security Division (SSD) comprising 9,000 Pakistan Army soldiers and 6,000 para-military forces personnel has been set up for the security of the CPEC project and Chinese nationals working on it.
Ghafoor said Pakistan faced a very challenging war against terrorism during the last two decades, and now the security situation was under control.
Talking about the CPEC role in the country, he said the economic prosperity brought about by the CPEC will fail the motives of terrorists, as with the success of project more employment and business opportunities will be unveiled and with more economic opportunities coming in, people’s lifestyle will improve and inimical elements will fail gradually, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
He claimed that the security situation in Balochistan had improved since the launch of the CPEC and now there was a better infrastructure, as many Chinese projects were underway, and with every coming day security, development and investment situation will get better.
The Pakistan Army spokesman’s comments came days after terrorists attacked the Pearl Continental luxury hotel in the port city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province, killing at least eight persons, including four civilians and a Pakistan Navy soldier.
The attack was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army—one of the most-organised terrorist groups of Baloch nationalists fighting against security forces. The group was also involved in the terrorist attack at the Chinese consulate in Karachi last year.
Ghafoor said: “Today’s Gwadar is not what it used to be two years ago and in future it will be on a par with the ports of developed countries”.
Gwadar port is one of the focal points of the CPEC with many Chinese workers from other provinces of Pakistan working at the port. China is investing heavily in Balochistan under the CPEC.
The CPEC, launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
Talking about the investment opportunities in Pakistan, Ghafoor said Pakistan was doing its best to create an environment where investors could come and do their business as the security situation had greatly improved.
“Though there are a few sporadic terrorist incidents, investors should not be discouraged by them and keep their trust intact in peace,” he added.