A deal has been struck between a Chinese company and Pakistan to operate a new bus service in Karachi, local media reported.
The bus service will be modeled after the Peoples Bus Service. The Chinese company Shandong Hi Speed, during a meeting of a delegation of the Chinese company with the Minister of Transport of Sindh Sharjeel Inaam Memon in Karachi, reached an agreement.
Pakistani Minister Sharjeel Memon has asked the Chinese company to complete the process of buying the buses, Pakistani local media portal Radio Pakistan reported.
Under this new bus service, there will be a fleet of five hundred buses, which will reach Karachi within four months.
An impoverished but friendly Pakistan has welcomed China, mainly through the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), allowing the latter’s expansion and access to the Indian Ocean region.
In reality, however, it turned out to be a costly undertaking in several respects, not least in terms of the lives lost. Twenty-four Chinese nationals have died and scores more injured in targeted attacks in the past year alone.
The April 26 terrorist attack at the heart of the University of Karachi indicates that militancy in Pakistan, both religious and ethnic, while not sparing traditional adversaries – minorities and the state – is increasingly taking more a net anti-Chinese, and he should worry about the self-proclaimed “iron and all-weather friends”.
The target was not a CPEC project that is attracting opposition from local people, but the Confucius Institute, China’s cultural center, one of many established around the world. Launched in 2004 to provide free education in Chinese language and culture, it was rejected in many Western countries as a vehicle for propaganda.
Also, many – unaccounted for or kept secret – died during the construction of Gwadar Port and Naval Base and other projects in the pre-CPEC era.
The woman who carried out the “suicide bombing” was Shari Baloch. His photo with a smile and a “V” for the sign of victory was available on social networks. She belonged to the Majeed Brigade of the Balochistan Liberation Army which claimed responsibility for the attack.
As Shari Baloch was a graduate and a teacher by training and profession, this confirms that the face of activism in Balochistan has changed dramatically. It is not only the poor young people of the tribes, but also the urban and educated classes of the province who feel exploited because of the CPEC.
With the CPEC, the governments of Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan fought unsuccessfully, unable to deal with coordinated surprise attacks, despite state oppression and hundreds of young people having “disappeared”, ending up dead or in prison indefinitely. Forming an elite division of the army exclusively for CPEC security did not help.
The new government of Shehbaz Sharif has announced its willingness to address activists, particularly those from Balochistan. But security in the provinces is handled by a hodgepodge of intelligence agencies, both civilian and military, and there remain militants who are treated as “assets”, to be played off against each other, until they become thugs. Thus, he has a difficult task to accomplish.