The ‘higher than the Karakorams and sweeter than honey’ bond of the Iron Brothers – China and Pakistan – received a severe dent with the July 14 attack at Dasu hydel plant in Kohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The terror attack demonstrate that Pakistan remains jihad central, even for its close friends and allies. The knee jerk initial reaction of Imran Khan’s government referring to it as merely a vehicle failure has only worsened the situation. The Chinese immediately called it a terror attack and so Pakistan was forced to backtrack.
As an editorial in Dawn pointed out, “This is not the first attack on a Chinese target in the country. In the past, Chinese projects and staff have been targeted at multiple sites across the country. Chinese nationals and those working on Chinese projects have been targeted both by Baloch militants and the Pakistani Taliban. While the prime minister has expressed an interest in holding talks with insurgent groups in Balochistan, the grievances of those in the provinces where there are Chinese projects and workers are real and must be addressed through an effective strategy.”
Finally, “With the region on the brink of chaos as Nato and the US exit Afghanistan, all manner of militants will try and increase attacks inside Pakistan as is already evident. There is a dire need for improved security and intelligence gathering — not just for foreigners working in the country but also for ordinary Pakistanis. Pakistan has incurred an incredibly high human and economic cost due to years of unrest and militancy. The return of this threat could take Pakistan back to the era of uncertainty and strife.”