LAHORE – Five Chinese engineers, who engaged in a scuffle with on-duty policemen in Kabirwala last week, have been sent back to their home country.
The engineers, working on the M-4 project near Kabirwala, had exchanged harsh words and roughed up the Special Protection Unit (SPU) personnel of the police force who were assigned for their security on April 4.
The development came after the Khanewal district administration wrote a letter to the Punjab government, urging it to declare Xu Ling, the Country Project Manager, Tian Weijun, the Administration Officer, Liu Hui, the Material and Equipment Manager, Wang Yifan, officer for Financial Affairs and Tan Yang, the Field Engineer as the “persona non grata being the reason of this incident”.
“They [Chinese workers] must have realised the sensitivity of their security and should not have taken the law in their hands,” the letter reads.
District Police Officer (DPO) of Khanewal, Rizwan Ahmad Gondal had also recommended the Punjab government to deport the five Chinese workers.
On Saturday, the Chinese engineers invited the police personnel at their camp for dinner where they apologized for their behaviour.
Pictures show personnel in Punjab police uniform enjoying a meal with foreigners identified by some users as Chinese engineers who had clashed with police.
The brawl had started Wednesday when, according to eyewitnesses, the Chinese engineers attempted to leave the camp without security. The verbal aggression soon deteriorated into a physical fight, as the SPU personnel stopped them from leaving the premises.
A video showed a Chinese national standing on the bonnet of a police van, another video showed several Chinese nationals trashing policemen and some local people in plain clothes.
The pictures seemed more offensive to some people as they thought the Chinese national appeared to show no regard for Pakistan’s flag that was printed on the vehicle right under his feet.
According to police officials, Chinese engineers and other officials wanted to leave their camp in Khanewal and visit a “red-light” area on Tuesday night. They resorted to agitation when denied permission to leave the camp without being accompanied by security officials.
Later, the Chinese engineers also cut power supply to the police camp established within the main construction camp, the officials added.
On Wednesday morning, the Chinese workers stopped work on the project and abandoned heavy machinery and vehicles on various roads in the area. They also resorted to violence and attacked police in their camp.
Later, Khanewal DPO Rizwan Omer Gondal held a meeting with the protesting Chinese workers following which they agreed to open the blocked roads.
Meanwhile, the police officials made it clear to the Chinese engineers that they will not be allowed to leave their camp without security arrangements.
In its investigation report sent to Punjab Chief Minister, the police department had recommended that the government declare the engineers “persona non grata” and make them leave the country.
Subsequently, the protesting Chinese engineers wrote a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, claiming that police officials refrained them from performing their duties and attacked them.
They also accused the security in-charge of attempting to hit the Chinese workers with his vehicle. Police officials, however, rejected the accusations and said they were fabricated.
This was not the first time when Chinese nationals in Pakistan attacked local police. In 2016, a clash occurred between the police and Chinese workers as the latter insisted on staying at a construction camp at night, but the former opposed the idea due to security reasons.
It is yet to be confirmed whether the Chinese workers have been sent packing by ministry concerned or the employer.