Pakistan faces Chinese fury over abductions and killing of its citizens

China on Wednesday called on Pakistan to take “credible measures” to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and companies, a day after a Chinese woman was shot dead in Peshawar.

In what diplomats described as an unusually strong message from Beijing to its “all-weather” strategic ally, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it took the incident “seriously” and asked Pakistan to “spare no efforts” to investigate the attack.

In Islamabad, the Foreign Office said in a statement it condemned the incident in the “strongest terms”.

Separately, Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan sought to assuage Chinese concerns, which have been heightened over the past year in the wake of a number of kidnapping threats issued to Chinese companies. In a statement, he said Pakistan attached “highest importance to the safety and security of Chinese citizens and their businesses in Pakistan”.

“We are thoroughly investigating the incident and will spare no effort to track down the culprits,” he added.

Two unknown gunmen on a motorbike shot dead the Chinese woman — identified as Jiang Hua — and a Pakistani youth, Suleman Shams, on Tuesday. Both were shot in the head and died on way to hospital. Two passports, $100 and PKR 5,000 were recovered from her by the police who have not divulged details on what she was doing in Peshawar. The youth is said to have been her interpreter.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in Beijing the Chinese embassy in Pakistan “immediately launched contingency mechanisms and sent staff to the scene on that very same night to assist in follow-up matters”.

“At the same time,” added Mr. Hong, “we also require the Pakistani side to investigate the case and spare no efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, and take credible measures to ensure the safety of Chinese institutions and nationals in Pakistan”.

In recent months, a number of Chinese companies have expressed concerns over the safety of their personnel in Pakistan. As The Hindu reported last month, officials in several Chinese mining companies have said the deteriorating security situation had even prompted them to review investment plans. Last year, one of China's biggest private coal mining firms, the Kingho Group, pulled out of a $19-billion deal — the biggest investment by a Chinese company in the country — in the Sindh province citing security fears.

As per one count, there are about 16,000 Chinese based in Pakistan in various sectors. While many of them are students or working on Chinese projects, many have set up their own businesses, including beauty parlours and restaurants.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 11:01:27 AM |

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