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Photo Source: Wall Street Journal

Pakistan Reader# 734, 27 March 2024

Suicide attack in KP kills five Chinese nationals; Beijing wants to “severely punish the perpetrators.”



China strongly condemned the suicide attack on the Dasu Hydropower Project Chinese workers.

Shamini Velayutham

In Focus

What happened?
On 26 March, according to Malakand's deputy inspector general of police (DIG) five Chinese nationals and a Pakistani woman were killed in a suicide bombing near Bisham city in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Briefing about the incident, the DIG asserted that a suicide bomber collided his vehicle that had explosives into the Chinese nationals’ car. The official in charge of Rescue 1122 station in Bisham Sheraz Khan said: “The area was engulfed in smoke as the bus that had fallen into the ravine was on fire.”

Following the attack, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) asserted that with the help of Pakistan’s ally China the military had pledged to ensure accountability of all the components comprising the aid to terrorism. The military media wing in a statement said: “Certain foreign elements are complicit in aiding and abetting terrorism in Pakistan, driven by their vested interests. Despite the veneer of innocence, these elements are being continuously exposed as sponsors of terror.” The ISPR further added that the two attempts were successfully intercepted by the Pakistani security forces, however, the recent resulted in causalities.

Previous attacks on the Chinese nationals
On 13 August 2023, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) Majeed Brigade carried out an attack against the Chinese engineers. However, the Pakistani forces thwarted the attack. Gawadar Deputy Superintendent of Police Chakar Baloch said: “Two attackers were killed in the operation.” In the attack, the terrorists used small hand grenades, according to Pakistan military. Following the attack, the Chinese consulate general issued a “safety warning.”
Similarly, on 14 July 2021, nine Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis were killed in suicide bombing.

Responses from China and Pakistan
China strongly condemned the suicide attack on the Dasu Hydropower Project Chinese workers. The Embassy of China and Consulate General in Pakistan denounced the attack and requested Pakistan to “thoroughly investigate the attack and severely punish the perpetrators”. According to the Chinese embassy, measures were being taken to oversee the safety of the Chinese citizens. The embassy further alarmed the Chinese citizens, and their companies to pay close attention to the security situation and increase swift moves to combat such incidents in the near future.

An editorial in Dawn, ‘New terror wave’ stated that security must be given to all the foreign workers in the country, specially the Chinese nationals and that civilian and military forces should work closely to eradicate terrorism. Condemning the attack on Chinese officials President Asif Ali Zardari said: “Anti-Pakistani elements will never succeed in harming the Pakistan-China friendship.” Upon hearing the incident, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the Chinese embassy and expressed his condolences over the incident. He said: “We will not let such nefarious attempts to undermine the Pak-China friendship succeed. The enemies of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor have again tried to interrupt it through such cowardly attempt but the enemy will never succeed in its evil designs.” Subsequently, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi said that the enemies have targeted the “citizens of Pakistan’s extremely trusted friendly country”.

The Foreign Office have also expressed its concern and issued a statement stating: “We will resolutely act against all such forces and defeat them.” Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister (CM) Haji Gulber Khan denounced the attack and said: “Attack on Chinese citizens is a conspiracy to ruin Pakistan-China friendship.” Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto condemned the attack and called the Pakistani authorities to identify the terrorists who were behind the attack.

In a press meeting, the US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller opposed the attack on Chinese workers. He said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries sustained. We share our heartfelt condolences with those affected by the attack. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists. I note that PRC nationals in Pakistan have also been the victims of terrorist attacks and no country should suffer the acts of terror.”

References
Mehboob Ali, “Suicide attack targeting vehicle kills 5 Chinese engineers in Shangla,” The News International, 26 March 2024
China demands thorough probe, severe punishment for Shangla attack perpetrators,” The News International, 26 March 2024
Army vows action against perpetrators of Shangla attack as Chinese engineers among 6 killed,” The News International, 26 March 2024
 “Pakistan security forces kill 2 after attack on Chinese convoy,” Al Jazeera, 13 August 2023

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