Chinese prisoners working on CPEC in Pakistan: MP

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ISLAMABAD, Mar 02: A lawmaker claimed that China had sent a large number of its prisoners to work as labour on the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) development projects in Pakistan.

Nawab Mohammad Yousuf Talpur, a National Assembly member of opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said at a recent meeting of parliamentary committee said, “I have learnt that prisoners have been brought from Chinese jails and they are constructing roads. They can be involved in crimes so there should be proper security arrangements.”

Talpur who was quoted by Dawn, questioned the authorities to explain if they had entered into any tacit agreement with Beijing to use the country for penal settlements. “I contacted a concerned official who confirmed that prisoners had been working in Pakistan. My doubt was strengthened by an ambiguous response from the ministry of interior which rather than rejecting my claim just said it was not in the knowledge of the ministry,” he said.

The PPP member said that he assumed that a secret or unannounced agreement had been made between the two countries “because prisoners cannot be sent from one country to another without taking the host nation into confidence.” The lawmaker pointed out that a number of Chinese nationals had been arrested in ATM fraud cases, especially in the port city of Karachi.

The home ministry reportedly showed ignorance about the presence of Chinese prisoners in Pakistan. Rizwan Malik, the Special Secretary for Interior, told the parliamentary committee that Chinese workers were being given a three-layer security. “There is a separate security for Chinese nationals who have been working on CPEC projects. Separate arrangements have been made for those who have come for electricity projects,” Malik said, adding that arrangements had also been made to provide security to Chinese students and business people.

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