Pakistan, China jointly investigate bus tragedy as Chinese team visits site
By Shafqat Ali
ISLAMABAD, July 18 (Gwadar Pro)- Pakistan and China are jointly investigating the Dasu bus tragedy which claimed the lives of the Chinese and Pakistani nationals last Wednesday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Saturday afternoon after a Chinese team visited the site of the incident.
Ahmed told a news conference here that 15 Chinese officials had been included in the ongoing investigation into the Dasu bus tragedy in which 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, died.
“The investigation of the event is at its final stage and the highest institutions of Pakistan are investigating it. Fifteen individuals from China have been included in the investigation as well. We are jointly investigating the incident. The culprits will not be spared,"he said.
The Interior Minister said Pakistan is in regular contact with the Chinese government and Beijing is being updated on every development.
“We completely reassure the Chinese government that these culprits, hidden hands and enemies of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and China-Pakistan friendship will never be forgiven at any cost,” he remarked.
Thirteen people, including nine Chinese nationals, two personnel of the Frontier Constabulary and two locals, were killed and 28 others sustained injuries when a coach carrying them to an under-construction tunnel site of the 4,300-megawatt Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in the Upper Kohistan area after an explosion on Wednesday.
The Foreign Office initially termed the incident an accident but the government later said traces of explosives had been found. Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry said terrorism “could not be ruled out.”
“China will send a cross-departmental joint working group to Pakistan to help with relevant work,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian later announced.
The Pakistani interior minister said that the two countries shared an all-weather friendship that cannot be affected by such events.
He said a similar effort, to impact Pakistan's relationship with China, had failed in Quetta, referring to a blast at the Serena Hotel at a time when the Chinese ambassador was visiting.
Citing investigations, Ahmed claimed that the Dasu incident was planned days before a meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of CPEC - originally scheduled for Friday (July 16). The meeting was subsequently postponed.
Separately, on Saturday afternoon, Foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said a 15-member Chinese team visited Dasu in connection with the investigation of the tragic incident, where it was briefed by the Pakistani side.
“The Chinese team expressed appreciation over the efforts made by the Pakistan side,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said.
Chaudhri said the delegation examined the site along with the Pakistani counterparts. He mentioned that the visiting team comprised representatives from the Chinese Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce, criminal investigation and technical experts.
The delegation a day earlier held a meeting with all relevant stakeholders in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he added.
The Pakistani side was led in the meeting by the Interior Secretary, whereas Ambassador of China Nong Rong led the Chinese side, he said.
During the meeting, the two sides exchanged deepest condolences on the loss of precious lives and the Chinese side was briefed regarding the progress in the ongoing investigation indicating possibility of sabotage and about the care being provided to the injured, the spokesperson said.
“After the meeting, the Chinese delegation visited injured Chinese nationals at CMH (Combined Military Hospital) Rawalpindi,” he said.