China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) yesterday reversed its decision to fire nearly all Pakistani workers employed in the construction of a major hydroelectric scheme in northwestern Pakistan after an explosion, now assumed to be a terror attack, killed nine Chinese workers and four Pakistani nationals.
The blast occurred on the morning of 14 July, sending CGGC’s shuttle bus carrying workers to site plunging down a steep ravine, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.
CGGC is building the Dasu Hydropower project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province as part of the approximately $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Pakistani government initially insisted the blast was an accident and not a terror attack, but then accepted it was an attack in line with the Chinese embassy’s assessment.
After the blast, CGGC announced that it would terminate the contracts of all Pakistani personnel with the exception of some needed to maintain site operations.
But yesterday, Pakistan’s Water & Power Development Authority (Wapda) announced that CGGC had declared that notice "null and void".
Wapda said construction work on the project "will now be resumed very soon".
"It is pertinent to mention that in the wake of Dasu incident, the civil administration, WAPDA and CGGC decided with mutual consultation to suspend construction work on the project for a few days so that the matters could be re-organized and construction work may be resumed in a more secure atmosphere," Wapda said.
"Since then, WAPDA is in close coordination with the CGGC high-ups and it is expected that the CGGC will restart construction activities on the project in a few days."
Image: The 14 July blast happened on the day Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, left, met with China’s foreign minister Wang Yi in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (From the Twitter account of foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi)