Investigating Besham Bus Attack: Revealing The Motives And Raising Security Concerns – OpEd


The recent attack on a Chinese engineer’s bus in Besham in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Province has raised many concerns. The attack occurred on the Karakoram highway, which was going from Islamabad to Kohistan on Tuesday, March 26. As a result, five Chinese and one Pakistani bus driver have been killed. Beijing has raised serious concerns over the incident and demanded a thorough investigation. In addition, Beijing emphasized the need to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens, particularly those involved in developmental projects. The working on Dasu Dam project was suspended for an undisclosed duration following the unfortunate incident. 

Pakistan is facing a slight reemergence in terror activities due to a safe-haven of Takhrek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghanistan and the separatist groups in Baluchistan like the so-called “Baluch Liberation Army” (BLA). However, TTP has denied involvement in the Bham incident and made its stance clear. Tracing the clues, hostile groups such as BLA can take such attacks as they have serious concerns over the exploitations of Baluchistan’s resources, for which they blame Pakistan’s security agencies and Chinese companies working on developmental projects.  

In addition, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) sees China as an oppressor state for its alleged crackdown against Uighur Minorities. Due to these factors, the sentiments of jihadist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan get hurt by such actions. 

Furthermore, each hostile group has their aim to sabotage the China-Pakistan relationship to hamper the economic growth and progress in this crucial time. The aim of this incident is no other but to affect foreign investments in the country. 

The Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Pakistan denounced a Bisham suicide attack and established an emergency strategy to investigate and punish perpetrators. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet visited the embassy to reassure Beijing about safety and promise a thorough explosion investigation. The Pakistan Army blamed foreign entities for supporting terrorism in Pakistan but said they were being exposed. President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the crime and regretted the victims. The Foreign Office pledged to prosecute the attackers, claiming they were Pakistan-China rivals.

The Pakistan Army and other security agencies play a significant role in ensuring the safety of Chinese nationals working on hydropower projects in Pakistan. These efforts, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), are critical for both nations. In response to China’s demand for heightened security, Pakistan has developed two divisions of highly competent army soldiers dedicated to securing the CPEC infrastructure and the Chinese labor force. Despite the hazards, Pakistani security officials have shown unflinching dedication, even putting their lives at risk to protect Chinese citizens, and many have been martyred.

Tensions and concerns persist along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. The hostility between the two nations has risen as a result of Pakistan’s recent air attacks on Afghanistan. The interim Afghan Government (IAG), the Taliban, strongly condemned these airstrikes right away. Cross-border migrations are difficult to manage due to permeable borders, harsh landscapes, and ideological complexity. The Durand Line debate fosters existing issues. The changing geopolitical landscape may cause unrest along this border, destabilizing the region and hampering national interests.

Although no militant group has taken responsibility for the attack till now, it is crucial for both countries to deal with the issue sensibly and cooperate in this needed hour against such terror actions. No Doubt, Pakistan and China have deep mutual interests, and the Besham incident will never affect their mutual relations and will eliminate all the threats that may harm their ties. 

Abdul Mussawer Safi

Abdul Mussawer Safi is a student of international relations at the National Defense University Islamabad. He has a profound interest in World politics especially,in the regional dynamics of South Asia. His academic strength is critical and SWOT Analysis. He tweets at @MussawerSafi and can be reached at [email protected]

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