Chinese engineers working on CPEC spotted armed to protect themselves

In the backdrop of the attack of Chinese engineers in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, images have surfaced on social media showing Chinese workers at the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, armed with AK-47 guns to protect themselves.

July 14 saw an attack on a bus that was carrying Chinese engineers to the Dasu dam project in Pakistan’s northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. At least 9 Chinese workers were killed in the deadly attack earlier this month. It was the first attack on Chinese nationals in the country, with Beijing quick to send its team to investigate it. Several photos are doing the rounds on social media platforms that show Chinese workers carrying AK-47s on their shoulders. According to information available, a massive amount of Chinese money has been pumped into creating, training and equipping two Special Security Divisions (SSDs), the 34 and 44 Light Infantry Divisions with 15000 troops each. The use of AK-47s raises questions about two Special Security Divisions (SSDs) raised by Pakistan to protect Chinese workers and assets in the country. These are 34 Light Infantry Division created in September 2016 and 44 Light Infantry Division created in 2020, each having 15,000 troops. Chinese workers in Pakistan are involved in CPEC, the mega project that connects China’s western region with Gwadar port in the restive Balochistan province.

Pakistan Army had asked for and received money for equipping these divisions, however, they have failed to carry out their duties completely and have been at the receiving end of insurgent attacks.