Chinese Prisoners Are Working on CPEC Projects, Says Pakistan Parliamentarian
China has invested billions of dollars in its One Belt One Road initiative of which the CPEC and Gwadar port are its investments in Pakistan. However, over past few weeks the CPEC project has been garnering lots of negative publicity for the resistance, sometimes violent, against the China sponsored projects in Pakistan.
A view of the old port in Gwadar, Pakistan. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. (Reuters)
New Delhi: A senior leader of Pakistan’s primary opposition – the PPP – has alleged that Chinese prisoners are being used in the construction work of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Nawab Mohammad Yousuf Talpur, a senior leader of Pakistan People’s Party, said this in the lower house, or National Assembly, of Pakistan’s Parliament on Monday. He alleged that a large number of Chinese prisoners were working on development projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
"I have learnt that prisoners have been brought from Chinese jails and they are constructing roads. They can be involved in crimes so there should be proper security arrangements," Talpur said. He raised the question citing security concerns for Pakistan.
"I assume that a secret or unannounced agreement has been made between the two countries because prisoners cannot be sent from one country to another without taking the host nation into confidence. Chinese construction companies are using prisoners as labourers," he added.
The leader said that a number of Chinese nationals had been arrested in ATM fraud cases, especially in Karachi. "Pakistanis are not capable of carrying out such crimes. I assume that Chinese prisoners are involved in ATM thefts and other computer crimes such as breaking into computers or computer networks," he said.
According to a national daily of Pakistan, the Ministry of Interior showed ignorance about the presence of Chinese prisoners in Pakistan. However, the Special Secretary for Interior, Rizwan Malik, responded by claiming that Chinese workers were being given a three-layer security. "There is a separate security for Chinese nationals who have been working on CPEC projects. Separate arrangements have been made for those who have come for electricity projects."
Talpur later told the Pakistan daily that he had got information that a large number of Chinese prisoners were working on different development projects across the country.
"I contacted an official who confirmed that prisoners had been working in Pakistan. My doubt was strengthened by an ambiguous response from the Ministry of Interior which rather than rejecting my claim just said it was not in the knowledge of the ministry," he told a leading Pakistani daily.
China has invested billions of dollars in its One Belt One Road initiative of which the CPEC and Gwadar port are its investments in Pakistan. However, over past few weeks the CPEC project has been garnering lots of negative publicity for the resistance, sometimes violent, against the China sponsored projects in Pakistan. That’s because the number of kidnapping, extortion and assault cases against Chinese nationals in Pakistan has been on the rise.
Earlier this month, two Chinese business executives of a transportation company were shot by gunmen in the southern city of Karachi, one of who died. China has also issued travel advisories for its nationals in Pakistan.
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