Chinese firm stops work on Dasu project after bus incident

A board showing the site of Dasu Hydro Power Project.

PESHAWAR: The Chinese firm working on the Dasu Hydropower Project has stopped work on the site after bus incident, in which 13 people – 13 Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis – were killed, citing “security concerns”.

According to a private news channel, the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) has intimated through a letter that after the bus incident, the company cannot continue operations on the project. The CGGC stated that the laid-off Pakistani employees will be paid salary and gratuity as per their contract.

Meanwhile, Project Director Anwarul Haq has confirmed that the Chinese firm has stopped work on the project, adding that it will restart work as soon as the security situation improves.

At least 13 people – nine Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis – were killed and more than two dozen others wounded Wednesday morning when a shuttle bus they were travelling in plunged into a deep ravine after an explosion on board.

The bus was ferrying the Chinese and Pakistani workers to an under-construction tunnel site of the Dasu Hydropower Project in the remote Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Probe in final stages

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid announced that the investigation into Dasu bus incident was in final stage. “A 15-member team of Chinese investigators had arrived yesterday and visited the incident site with security agency officials,” he added. 

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad today (Saturday), the interior minister informed that highest security institutions of the country are investigating the incident.

Rashid said that the Chinese government had also been taken on board and was being informed about updates as they were received. “We completely reassure the Chinese government that these culprits, hidden hands and enemies of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and China-Pakistan friendship will never be forgiven at any cost,” he claimed.

He further said that the two countries shared an “all-weather friendship” that could not be affected by such events. “They were successful in their scheme in Dasu but this success is temporary because our relations with China are higher than the Himalayas,” he pointed out.