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Pakistan's Li Kui in the Thar Desert

Release time:2019-12-23 Article source: Reading times: A+AA-

On December 24, 2015, the Thar coal mine project department, consisting of six members, reached the endless Thar Desert from Beijing to start the journey of CMEC to conquer the desert。 When they arrived, there was nothing but sand in front of them。 Conditions were harsh and difficult。 There was no road to the project site。 The first bulldozer they rented could only be transported to the Pinar camp two kilometers away from the project site by a tow truck。 They had no equipment to unload the bulldozer。 A warm and enthusiastic local man heard that Chinese prospectors came here to assist Pakistan in coal mine construction。 He was busy helping us all the day。 He brought us a forklift and helped us solve the battery problem of the bulldozer。 He requested to join the team of CMEC。 We agreed gladly since he is a steadfast and diligent man who can bear hardships and stand hard work。 This man is Ezat Khan, the Pakistan's Li Kui in the Thar Desert。

However, most people just know his Chinese name Li Kui. They don't know his English name. Why did he get such a Chinese name? When our site civil engineering manager first met Ezat Khan, he gave him the name because Ezat Khan is tall and stout with dark skin, just like the loyal and righteous Li Kui in one of Chinese classics Outlaws of the Marsh. As we often called him "Li Kui", Ezat Khan was quite confused. He asked us about the meaning. We told him that "Li Kui was a great hero in ancient China who held two axes". He accepted the Chinese name gladly. After that, every time when we had newcomers, he always introduced himself warmly. He said "I am Pakistan's Li Kui" and pretended that there were two axes in his hands. He often repeated it loudly for fear that his name could not be remembered. His exaggerated movements and rich expressions made almost all newcomers burst into laughter. Over time, the name of Pakistan's Li Kui has been widely known.

There are two kilometers from the Pinar camp to the project site of CMEC. The transportation of building materials to the project site was the biggest problem then. We built a temporary road for this purpose. We had to transport the six containers from China to the site. However, the tow trucks carrying the containers got stuck in the road full of sand. There were only several Chinese people and Li Kui on site. Li Kui kneeled on the ground to shovel the sand beneath the tire, and used a steel wire rope to tow the truck. With joint efforts of these people, six trucks were all "out of danger". The temperature approached 50°C in May in the Thar Desert. Li Kui breathed heavily. His clothes were totally wet. Beads of sweat kept rolling down his tanned face. Well, he is really a living Pakistani version of Li Kui!

Since he worked in the coal mine project in April 2016, Li Kui has been responsible for the receiving of goods on site, information collection of drivers and local personnel entering the site and handling of exit and entry permits. The project site is three kilometers far away from the checkpoint. Sometimes, Li Kui had to walk to checkpoint to receive goods, in order to ensure that the goods can be sent to site in time. Every time when he completed the task assigned by his leaders and colleagues, he always asked us "Is Li Kui good or not good". We always answered "Good. Li Kui is good!" Then he would show us a big smile. Li Kui is always active in work. He can finish his tasks very quickly. He has received high praise from the colleagues in the project department and been rated as Excellent Pakistani Staff for three consecutive years.

The friendship between China and Pakistan will be passed on from generation to generation. In 2017, Li Kui's eldest son began to work in our Thar coal mine project. He will inherit his father's teachings and make his own contributions to the "Belt and Road" initiative. Li Kui often showed us the photos of his family warmly. He told us that his house has been renovated and his family's living standard has increased. He always showed his white teeth unsparingly and said "Chinese is good, very good! CMEC is good, very good!"

As a flagship project of the "Belt and Road" initiative, CMEC's Thar coal mine project can't be built without the pioneering and unyielding spirit of Chinese prospectors and strong support of local people and local staff. CMEC hired more than 1,600 local employees for the Thar coal mine project at its peak. Among these employees, there are a lot of ordinary heroes who are diligent and hard-working like "Li Kui". They are working to contribute to the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

                                                                    — Gao Guilin, Liu Zhe, CMEC Site Project Department of Thar Coal Mine in Pakistan

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