Pakistan army’s capability to secure key assets, including those of Beijing, has been questioned following violent protests that shook the nation after the arrest of opposition leader Imran Khan, The Klaxon reported.
The Klaxon is an Australian investigative news outlet delivering top-quality journalism in the public interest.
Protestors in several major cities of Pakistan turned on the military after Imran Khan was arrested on May 9 in a courthouse raid, with military bases broken into and the homes of multiple senior military officials torched.
Chinese targets have also been attacked, which intelligence sources say is linked to growing anti-China sentiment, with Beijing seen as contributing to the nation’s increasingly precarious financial position.
According to The Klaxon, Pakistan has become heavily indebted to China over the past decade under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of Beijing’s transnational Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure program.
Pakistan now owes China USD 30 billion, almost one-third of its total USD 100 bn foreign debt, with Beijing its single biggest creditor.
Meanwhile, two Pakistani gunmen recently attacked Chinese workers at a Karachi boatyard using weapons stolen from security forces amid the unrest; while sources said Chinese assets including electricity towers were attacked in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
“Two terrorists tried to kill Chinese at Dawood Jetty,” Karachi Police tweeted regarding the attack.
“After exchange of firing one terrorist (was) killed while (the) other managed to escape”.
The boatyard is reportedly owned by a Chinese company and there were around 31 Chinese workers on-site at the time of the attack, as per The Klaxon.
At least nine people have been killed and hundreds more injured in the ensuing violence.
According to Pakistan police, over 2,800 people have been arrested and 22 military and other government buildings damaged.
The mass protests kicked off when Khan, an international cricket star-turned-politician, was arrested on Tuesday last week after around 100 paramilitary soldiers surrounded and stormed an Islamabad court.