GILGIT, Oct 6: The federal government has approved the establishment of a special protection unit (SPU) in Gilgit-Baltistan for providing security to foreigners working on the mega China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as well as tourists visiting the region.
“The steps are being taken to foil the conspiracies being hatched by the country’s enemies against the CPEC project,” GB’s home secretary Bilal Ahmad Memon told local reporters on Thursday.
Elaborating the security measures, the official said the federal government had approved the appointment of 700 security personnel and release of Rs2.66 billion for the CPEC special protection unit.
Earlier the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the setting up of the force during his visit to the region and had also provided Rs1 billion initially to the GB government for the project.
The force would be trained by the army and provided with sophisticated arms, communication facilities.
An official in the Chief Minister’s office told The High Asia Herald that the force also provides security to the foreign tourists visiting the mountain region and also maintain law and order.
The federal government had established in 2015 a Special Security Division to secure the $55 billion project.
The unit will have 15,000 troops comprising 9 army composite battalions (9,000 personnel) and six civil armed forces wings (6,000 personnel). The security force consists of highly trained special force potent enough to counter any threat emerging to the Mega Project of CPEC
Earlier it was reported that retired army personnel will be hired to secure the economic corridor. Further, plans for setting up a special police unit to provide security to CPEC projects were also under consideration.
CPEC formally started operations in November last year after hundreds of Chinese trucks laden with goods rolled into the Sost dry port in Gilgit-Baltistan.
CPEC includes around 3,000-kilometre long highways, railways and pipelines which will connect China’s Xinjiang province to the rest of the world through Gwadar port.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government had sent 10 Foton double-cabin vehicles to strengthen the capacity of SPU.
A Chinese team handed over the keys of the vehicles to Punjab government officials the other day.