A man hangs decorations on a pole next to a banner showing, clockwise from top left, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jinping, on April 19, 2015, ahead of Xi's visit to Islamabad
Faisal Mahmood—Reuters
By Rishi Iyengar
April 23, 2015

Chinese engineers traveling to Pakistan to implement the $46 billion infrastructure program signed between the two countries this week will be protected by a special security force of 12,000 men, Pakistani officials said Tuesday.

The security troops will comprise nine battalions of the Pakistani military and six wings of civilian paramilitary forces like the Frontier Corps and Pakistan Rangers that currently guard the country’s borders, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a statement from Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa.

The ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, announced during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Islamabad this week, includes $28 billion worth of roads, rail lines and power stations connecting the Pakistani port of Gwadar to Kashgar in China’s restive northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Islamic militant groups are a major threat along many parts of the proposed road link, and a military official said the special security forces will be deployed and distributed where they are needed the most.

“Let me assure you, Mr. President, Pakistan considers China’s security as our own security,” Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a speech in parliament on Tuesday.

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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