New Delhi: Nine months after a terror attack on Dasu dam killed 10 Chinese construction workers in Pakistan, the Imran Khan government has finally agreed to pay less than half of what Beijing demanded — $11.6 million. The government approved the amount to be given to the families of the Chinese workers killed or injured in the terror attack that took place on 14 July 2021.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Pakistan, which is the prime minister’s consulting forum, met Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Friday and took the decision. China had previously demanded that the Pakistan government pay $38 million to the families of 36 Chinese workers affected in the attack.
The attack had also claimed lives of four Pakistani workers.
Allegations suggesting that the Chinese contractor had vacated the site and raised several demands as preconditions to resume work. But these were rubbished by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian in a press conference on Friday. He reportedly said: “I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. As far as I know, the Dasu hydropower project has resumed.”
“Recently, we have seen [the] president of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and some media’s positive comments on the progress made in the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) flagship project,” he added.
The Dasu Hydropower Project in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which has now resumed operation, is funded by the World Bank. It, however, is not a part of the CPEC. According to a statement by PM Imran Khan, the dam will provide low-cost, clean energy. “Phase one of Dasu Dam will be completed by 2025, which will add 2160 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. This capacity will increase to 4320 megawatts with the completion of its second phase by 2029,” he had said.
Allegations on India
In August 2021, former member of Senate Sehar Kamran alleged that the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghan National Directorate of Security was involved in the attack.
Investigations revealed RAW, NDS nexus behind the #Dasu terrorist attack on the Chinese Engineers, as per FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi
“The car used in the attack was smuggled into Pakistan and the original intended target was not the Dasu dam but the Diamer-Bhasha dam”. pic.twitter.com/8Up4trzFz9
— Senator Sehar Kamran T.I. (@SeharKamran) August 12, 2021
Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had also made a similar statement, alleging that the bombing was carried out by terrorists backed by the Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies.
Reports suggested that the Pakistani intelligence found the involvement of Pakistan Taliban in the attack and also claimed involvement of Indian and Afghan intelligence. It was also claimed that the vehicle carrying the explosives was smuggled into Pakistan.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs rejected the allegations, calling them ‘absurd’. “This is yet another attempt by Pakistan to malign India, in a bid to deflect international attention from its role as the epicentre of regional instability and a safe haven for proscribed terrorists,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said.