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Special army unit to protect Chinese workers in Pakistan

IANS 21 Apr 2015, 18:16:14 PM IST

Islamabad: A special Pakistan Army unit will protect Chinese nationals working in Pakistan with the government granting approval, President Mamnoon Hussain told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday during a one-on-one meeting.

"I am pleased to inform you that the government has accorded approval to provide security to the Chinese working in Pakistan and a special security division has been created for this purpose," President Mamnoon Hussain told Xi, Dawn online reported.

Military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa has confirmed the decision and said Pakistan Rangers personnel will also be part of this security plan in addition to the army unit.

Military sources said a total of 10,000 troops have been dedicated to this purpose and a two-star senior military officer, who would report directly to the General Headquarters (GHQ), would head this security division.

Of the 10,000 troops, over 5,000 would be from the special services group of the Pakistan Army, who are specially trained for counter-terrorism and security.

Sources said the Chinese president during talks with Pakistani leadership raised the issue of security for the Chinese professionals working in Pakistan.

Xi arrived in Pakistan on Monday to launch projects worth $46 billion, a figure that would far exceed the $5 billion US spending in Pakistan and underscores China's economic ambitions in Asia and beyond.

Xi oversaw agreements on pipelines, power plants and other projects as part of a massive $46-billion joint development programmme that Beijing hopes would stabilise its long time ally's economy and extend China's influence in western Asia.