China’s infrastructure projects in jeopardy amid sharp rise in terrorist attacks in Pakistan

An upsurge in terrorist attacks in western Pakistan is threatening the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project that is seen as a key part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The attacks, which have been carried out by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and other militant groups, have targeted Pakistani security forces, civilians and public infrastructure projects.

An attack on a gathering in northwestern Pakistan on Monday left at least 54 dead and scores wounded.

Chinese nationals working in Pakistan have also come under attack by militants.

According to the South China Morning Post, the attacks have raised concerns about the security of the CPEC, which is a major source of revenue for Pakistan. The Pakistani government has said that it is taking steps to improve security, but analysts say that more needs to be done.

Launched in 2015, CPEC is a significant infrastructure development project that aims to strengthen economic ties and connectivity between China and Pakistan. It is a flagship component of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.

The corridor involves a vast network of roads, railways, pipelines, and other infrastructure projects that span from the Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan to China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

“The security situation in western Pakistan is deteriorating, and this is a major challenge for the CPEC,” said Afrasiab Khattak, a former member of Pakistan’s Senate. “The Pakistani government needs to do more to crack down on the militants who are targeting the CPEC.”

The attacks have also strained relations between Pakistan and China. China has repeatedly urged Pakistan to take more action to protect its nationals and projects.

In a meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier, He Lifeng, in Islamabad on Monday, Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, said that “obstacles” to the friendship between Pakistan and China would not be “tolerated.”

In May, the former Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, in a visit to Islamabad, met his Pakistani counterpart, Bilawal Bhutto Zaradri, and the Taliban chief diplomat, Amir Khan Muttaqi, and agreed to extend the Belt and Road Initiative to Afghanistan.

Pakistan has seen a sharp rise in the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan. According to Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), terrorist activities in the country has risen by 79 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Pakistan has repeatedly accused the Taliban of providing sanctuary to TTP.