"Combating Terrorism: Pakistan and China Stand United Against Adversaries"
(Tariq Habib) Once again, the nefarious intentions of anti-Pakistan forces have been thwarted as China has not only decided to continue work on the upgraded version of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but has also praised Pakistan’s efforts and commended the current government’s actions in this regard.

The endorsement from Pakistan’s longstanding strategic ally came following the conclusion of the Pak-China Strategic Dialogue held in Beijing. Co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the annual meeting aimed to evaluate bilateral relations and address a range of regional and international issues.

Following successful negotiations, in a joint press briefing following their discussions, foreign ministers of both countries expressed satisfaction with the progress of the CPEC initiative. They emphasized their shared commitment to expanding cooperation in this critical area, recognizing its significance for the economic prosperity of two nations.

The dialogue provided a platform for comprehensive discussions on various aspects of bilateral relations, with a specific focus on the CPEC and collaborative efforts in counter-terrorism. During the meeting  both sides reaffirmed their dedication to furthering the CPEC project and agreed to finalize arrangements for the involvement of third-party stakeholders. This decision underscores the mutual determination of China and Pakistan to bolster economic connectivity and enhance regional development through strategic initiatives.

Forces opposed to Pakistan’s development persistently attempt to damage the strong Pakistan-China friendship. These enemies orchestrate terrorist attacks on CPEC projects and target the Chinese engineers working on them. Between 2020 and April 2024, there have been eight major attacks on these projects. Four of these attacks occurred in Sindh, three targeting Chinese nationals and one involving Japanese nationals. Additionally, 2 attacks each took place in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulting in 28 fatalities and 32 injuries in these attacks.

In recent events, there have been renewed efforts by hostile elements to target Chinese engineers, once again posing a threat to the enduring Pakistan-China relationship. However, swift and decisive action from Pakistani law enforcement agencies, coupled with enhanced security measures for Chinese personnel, effectively foiled the nefarious designs of the adversaries. These proactive steps, taken to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals, have dealt a significant blow to the schemes of those seeking to sow discord between Pakistan and China.

The attempted attacks on Chinese engineers serve as a reminder of the persistent challenges posed by terrorism and extremism. However, Pakistan’s steadfast resolve to combat such threats and safeguard its vital partnerships remains resolute. The commendable security initiatives undertaken by Pakistani authorities have not gone unnoticed by China, who have expressed their satisfaction with the robust measures in place.

On the other hand, the outcome of the productive strategic dialogue between China and Pakistan, as reflected in the joint statement, is expected to be instrumental in tackling terrorism stemming from the Afghan border. Incidents of violence targeting Chinese citizens in Pakistan have been linked to infiltrators from across the Afghan border.

Following the coordinated stance of Pakistan and China against terrorism, subsequent to terrorist assaults targeting the project, it is expected that the Afghan Taliban are expected to revise their stance regarding labeling the banned Tahreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as an internal matter of Pakistan.

The Taliban cannot afford to incur China’s dissatisfaction as China stands out as the sole nation engaging with the Taliban government in Afghanistan at a crucial level. During a period of global isolation for Taliban government, facing widespread non-recognition, China made a remarkable move and stunned the world by accepting Asadullah Bilal Karimi as Afghan Ambassador to China.

In addition, China is making significant investments in Afghanistan on a large scale. Beijing has shown keen interest in Afghanistan’s mining, manufacturing, agricultural, and service industries due to its abundant reserves of valuable minerals such as copper, lithium, and rare earth elements, crucial for Chinese industries. China has been actively pursuing investment opportunities and initiating projects in Afghanistan.

Following the successful outcome of the Pak-China Strategic Dialogue and the issuance of a joint statement, there is an anticipation that the nefarious designs of trans-border adversaries will be foiled, and assistance will be helpful in eradicating terrorism within the country.