GSI: Remedy for Terror-Hit Pakistan

Terror strikes on the Chinese in Pakistan is part of a “larger plan” to beleaguer the economic interests of the country, as well as impair ties between Pakistan and China.

As China is helping Pakistan to fix its economic crunch, it has a perfect cure to fix Pakistan’s security issues under the framework of the Global Security Initiative (GSI).

Over the last few months, terror attacks have been taking a heavy toll on the security land­scape of various parts of Pakistan, especially those areas where Chinese nation­als have been working on projects either related to CPEC or not.

In Pakistan, the issue of terror­ism is very old fuelled by profuse geo-strategic, geo-political and geo-economic conditions. A slew of terrorist networks mostly spon­sored by TTP, BLA or India have been uprooted through many mil­itary-led operations but they rear their ugly heads soon. Hideous re­surgence stipulates deficiencies in counterterrorism strategies that can be tinkered with the close col­laboration of Chinese anti-terror­ism measures put in place by the GSI. Global Security Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping on 21th April 2022. It identifies six commitments in­cluding common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable se­curity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all coun­tries, abiding by the purpose and principles of the UN Charter, tak­ing the security concerns of all countries seriously, peacefully re­solving disputes between coun­tries through dialogue, and main­taining security in both traditional and non-traditional fields.

By rejecting confrontations among different groups, it stresses the connection between local se­curity and global security. A single country’s security is closely relat­ed to the region’s security and se­curity issues are also closely relat­ed to other issues. No country can solve major security issues alone.

Recent terror attacks have a pe­culiar pattern in Pakistan. Con­secutively, Chinese businesses and Chinese nationals appear to have been hit by terror incidents. In the 10 days between March 16 and March 26, Pakistan witnessed five different attacks, three in its northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkh­wa province and two in its south­western Balochistan province.

During Dasu bomb blast, six people including a woman among five Chinese engineers were killed in the Besham city of Shangla, Ko­histan district, province of KPK Pakistan. The last three attacks, occurring so expeditiously in a row, seem to target Pak-China in­terests in Pakistan. First, a terror attack took place on Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan, built and operated with Chinese help. Then, an armed group pounded one of Pakistan’s largest naval bas­es, also in Balochistan, pinpointing Chinese investment in the region as their motivation. And finally, an­ti-state elements targeted Chinese engineers working on a Chinese-funded hydropower project in the country’s north, near Besham city.

That pattern has stoked con­cerns within Pakistan’s govern­ment and military establishment and it is believed that terror strikes on the Chinese in Pakistan is part of a “larger plan” to beleaguer the economic interests of the coun­try, as well as impair ties between Pakistan and China. On the heel of the grim incident, Chinese inves­tigators arrived in Pakistan and joined a probe into a suicide attack in Bisham. Chinese foreign minis­try spokesperson Lin Jian said Chi­na’s inter-departmental working group carried out comprehensive emergency response work with the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan and the relevant enterprises.

China has the best case in this re­gard to go through for motivation. In order to wipe out terrorism in Xinjiang, Chinese leadership laid down game-changing policies for public uplift and ensured quality of life for local people in Xinjiang. As seen in believing, personal­ly I am an eyewitness of develop­ments in Xinjiang. Contrary to the narrative built by the US and the West, I observed positive vibes re­flected through the gradual im­provement of living standards of common people in Xinjiang when traveled and stayed in Xinjiang during a media & think-tank dele­gation in Kashi and Urumqi in De­cember 2023. The human rights situation in Xinjiang has signifi­cantly improved after counterter­rorism measures were effective­ly carried out per the law. Not a single terrorist incident has hap­pened in Xinjiang since 2017.

Following China’s commitments made in GSI, China has reaffirmed its assistance to Pakistan in tack­ling its ongoing security challeng­es, particularly terrorism. The Chi­nese Ministry of National Defense has expressed a keen interest in collaborating with Pakistan to strengthen its capacity to counter various security threats. Colonel Wu Qian, the ministry’s spokes­person, emphasised the enduring bond between China and Pakistan, underlining their mutual dedica­tion to fostering regional stability.

Colonel Wu highlighted the ex­tensive cooperation between the two countries’ militaries, ranging from joint exercises to training ex­changes and technological partner­ships. He reiterated China’s unwav­ering readiness to assist Pakistan in addressing security concerns, with a specific focus on combatting terrorism. This pledge follows the recent participation of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) contingent in Pakistan’s military parade and the latest deadly attack on Chinese engineers in the country.

Moreover, the GSI emphasis­es the need for international di­alogue platforms such as the Bei­jing Xiangshan Forum and the Global Public Security Coopera­tion Forum. Pakistan can active­ly participate in these forums to exchange best practices, share in­telligence, and enhance coordi­nation in combatting organised crime and terrorism.

China’s Global Security Initia­tive offers a holistic approach to addressing the complex security challenges facing the world today. Pakistan can leverage this initia­tive to strengthen its security ca­pabilities, foster regional coop­eration, and promote peace and stability in the region.

Yasir Habib Khan
The writer is the president of Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR). He tweets at @yaseerkhan

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