The Chinese firm working on the Dasu Hydropower Project has stopped work on the site citing security concerns and laid off all but the most essential workers, a private TV channel reported. According to the report, the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) has intimated through a letter that due to the July 14 bus incident in which nine Chinese nationals were killed, the company cannot continue operations on the project. The CGGC stated that the laid off Pakistani employees will be paid salary and gratuity as per their contract. Project Director Anwarul Haq confirmed that the Chinese firm has stopped work on the project, adding that it will restart work as soon as the security situation improves. At least 12 people, including nine Chinese nationals working on the project were killed when a bus carrying them fell into a ravine following an explosion. The federal government has launched an investigation into the tragic incident and a 15-member Chinese security team has also been involved in the probe. Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed has said that the probe into Dasu incident is in its final stages and will be completed soon. He said that he has directed security agencies to further improve the security of Chinese nationals. Briefing the media in Islamabad, the interior minister said that 15 Chinese officials have arrived in Pakistan for the investigation and the Chinese interior minister has also spoken to him about the Dasu accident. He said the accident took place on the Karakoram Highway, adding that the injured are being treated at the Pakistan Army Hospital. “It is our duty to protect the lives and property of the Chinese people here. The security of their people will be ensured,” Rasheed said, sharing that the Chinese Ministry of Interior has been taken on board. He said that the premier has asked him and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to go to China. He emphasised that Pak-China friendship is eternal and the accident does not impact this friendship. The enemies of CPEC and Pakistan and China’s friendship will not be forgiven, he said. Pakistan and China agreed Saturday to complete the investigation into the Dasu bus accident as soon as possible. The agreement came during a telephonic discussion between China’s Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi and Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed which continued for over half an hour. They discussed the tragic incident in the Upper Kohistan region. This is the second high-level contact in two days after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who had assured him that all out efforts will be made to investigate the incident. Expressing sorrow over the loss of precious Pakistani lives, Zhao said he has called Rasheed on the direction of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two officials exchanged views on the progress made into the investigation so far and agreed to complete it as soon as possible. “No hostile force can destabilise fraternal relations between the two countries.” Rasheed informed his Chinese counterpart that the investigations are carried out at the highest level on the direction of PM Khan and will be completed soon. He said that Pakistan is providing all assistance to the Chinese team currently in Pakistan to investigate the matter. Terming Pakistan and China “iron brothers”, the interior minister assured his Chinese counterpart that all the Chinese workers in Pakistan will be provided foolproof security. On Thursday, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry had said that “terrorism cannot be ruled out” in the Dasu accident. “Initial investigations into Dasu incident have now confirmed traces of explosives,” the minister had said. He had said that PM Imran Khan is “personally supervising all developments in this regard” and that the government is closely coordinating with the Chinese embassy. “We are committed to fight the menace of terrorism together,” he had said.