- Rashid's statement comes after days of speculation around the cause of the bus accident that killed at least 13 people including 9 Chinese nationals
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on Saturday that investigation into the Dasu incident has reached the final stages, a statement that comes after days of speculation around the cause of the bus accident that killed at least 13 people including nine Chinese nationals.
In a press conference on Saturday, the minister said that the highest institutions in Pakistan as well the Chinese team are working together to investigate the incident. He said Pakistan has kept China abreast of all findings.
The minister said that no power can spoil the relationship between Pakistan and China, as they are friends and brothers. Earlier, the interior minister had assured Chinese Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi that Chinese workers in Pakistan would be provided foolproof security.
A day ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan also assured Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that every effort will be made to investigate the Dasu incident, adding that the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan was the highest priority of the government.
PM Imran said that no hostile forces would be allowed to damage the brotherly relations between Pakistan and China.
On Tuesday, a bus carrying Pakistan and Chinese workers to the site of the Dasu project met with an accident with reports suggesting that a blast occurred, causing the vehicle to plunge into a ravine. At least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis lost their lives in the incident.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion investment plan under Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative that is aimed at connecting western China to the Gwadar seaport in southern Pakistan.
The bus accident also resulted in the postponement of the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on CPEC.
The JCC meeting, which is normally held once a year, was scheduled to be held on July 16 (Friday). However, CPEC Authority Chairman Lieutenant General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa said that the meeting will now be held after Eid, and informed that a new date will be announced after it is finalised. Meanwhile, preparations for the meeting will continue.
Meanwhile, a high-level Chinese investigative team also arrived in Islamabad on Friday to take a briefing from Pakistani counterparts on the bus incident.
Sources said that the Chinese team would visit the site of the bus incident where the Pakistani authorities would give them a comprehensive briefing and would also share the findings.
Initially, the Foreign Office had stated that the bus carrying Chinese workers plunged into a ravine after a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast. However, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, on Thursday, said that initial investigations into the Dasu incident have now confirmed traces of “explosives”.
“Terrorism cannot be ruled out,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan had a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in which, according to the PM House, the prime minister assured him that “no effort would be spared to fully investigate the incident”.