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Beijing condemns suicide attack in Pakistan which left five Chinese Dasu project workers killed, demands thorough investigation
Suicide attack in Pakistan leaves five Chinese workers of Dasu project killed. Photo Courtesy: Saleem Iqbal Qadri X page video grab

Beijing condemns suicide attack in Pakistan which left five Chinese Dasu project workers killed, demands thorough investigation

| @indiablooms | 27 Mar 2024, 02:01 pm

Condemning the suicide blast in Bisham region which left six people, including five Chinese nationals who were working on the Dasu Hydropower Project, dead, Beijing on Tuesday (March 26, 2024) asked Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the case and hunt down the perpetrators behind the attack.

Apart from five Chinese nationals, the Pakistani driver, who was driving the vehicle transporting staff of the Dasu dam project in Bisham, was also killed after a suicide bomber rammed into it.

Reacting to the blast, a Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said: "China strongly condemns this terrorist attack. We express deep condolences over the lives lost and extend sincere sympathies to the bereaved families. China asks Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the incident as soon as possible, hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice."

"Meanwhile, we ask Pakistan to take effective measures to protect the safety and security of Chinese nationals, institutions and projects in Pakistan. China is working with Pakistan on the follow-up work with all-out effort," the spokesperson said.

The Dasu Dam is the country's largest hydropower project.

China and Pakistan are strategic allies and Islamabad is considered a key link to President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident so far.

This is not the first time Chinese nationals have been attacked in the country.

In 2021, a bus explosion killed 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, on their way to the dam.

No group had even claimed responsibility for the incident at that time.

Pakistan has been witnessing a surge in terror attacks and violence since the Taliban snatched power in neighbouring Afghanistan in 2021 following the exit of foreign forces.

The Pakistan Taliban, however, denied its involvement in the attack.

Bisham Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Juma Rehman told Dawn: "It was a suicide attack on the Chinese convoy and an explosive-laden vehicle approaching from Kohistan hit the bus."

He said the bus caught fire after the attack and fell into the ravine.

“A huge amount of explosives were used in the attack, the force of which threw the bus into the ravine,” he said.

The officer said that police cordoned off the area to collect evidence following the attack.

“We have also collected body parts of the suspected suicide bomber from the site,” SDPO Rehman said.

Work on dam suspended

Meanwhile, work on the dam has been suspended after the attack as colleagues expressed grief over the death of their colleagues and a Pakistani driver.

The official sources confirmed to Dawn that the Chinese engineers and their Pakistani counterparts did not attend follow-up duty shifts, and night shifts to express sorrow for the killing of their co-workers in an attack earlier in the day.

“The multilayer security of the Chinese national executing the Dasu dam, and the residential campus has further been enhanced following the suicidal attack on engineers of one of the flagship energy projects of Sino-Pak friendship,” Irfanullah Mehsud, deputy commissioner of Upper Kohistan, told Dawn.

Beijing has invested tens of billions of dollars in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a part of the flagship Belt and Road project launched in 2015.

It will link China's western Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.

The connection between the two regions will be held with a network of roads, railways, pipelines and power plants.

Anti-China sentiments are strong in some parts of Balochistan and among locals of certain sections of the country who believe these projects have not benefitted them.

In its official statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: "China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and iron-clad brothers, and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) greatly contributes to the socioeconomic development of Pakistan.No attempt to undermine China-Pakistan cooperation will succeed."

Pakistan PM, President condemn

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad following the attack and posted on X: "I visited Chinese Embassy today to express my condolences at the dastardly act of terrorism in which five Chinese and a Pakistani national were killed. Our sympathies and prayers are with the victims and their families. I strongly condemn this attack against friendship. Our two countries express firm resolve to bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice."

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said enemies of Pakistan will not succeed in harming 'friendship' between neighbouring nations.

"I strongly condemn the attack on Chinese citizens in Bisham. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased Chinese citizens, the govt and leadership of China. The enemies of Pakistan will never succeed in harming Pak-China friendship.

2018 attack in Karachi

In 2018, the separatist group Baloch Liberation Army took responsibility for a suicide attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi which left at least four people dead.

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