QUETTA: Balochistan Inspector General of Police Ahsen Mehboob on Friday said the police and law enforcement agencies are investigating the truth behind a video that went viral on social media in which two abducted Chinese nationals were shown dead.
The so-called Islamic State (IS)-linked Amaq news agency claimed responsibility for their deaths.
The Chinese pair are said to have been studying Urdu at a language centre in the Jinnah township of Quetta when they were abducted by gunmen disguised as police on May 24.
According to local media reports at the time of the abduction, armed men took the couple as they left the centre. Another Chinese woman just managed to escape during the confrontation.
“Unless their dead bodies are received it will be too early to say anything about it,” the IG said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has said the Chinese side was trying to learn more about the reported killing of two Chinese nationals kidnapped in Pakistan and verify the situation by all means, including via the Pakistani side.
“We have noted the relevant report and are highly concerned about that,” Chunying remarked when asked to confirm the report that two Chinese nationals kidnapped in Pakistan were killed.
The spokesperson said, “We have been trying to rescue the two hostages during this period of time.”
She said the Chinese side firmly opposes kidnapping of civilians, terrorism and extremely violent acts in all forms.
The claim of the killings sparked anger on Chinese social media, with some strongly anti-Muslim comments. IS, which controls some territory in neighbouring Afghanistan, has struggled to establish a presence in Pakistan.
However, it has claimed several major attacks, including one on the deputy chairman of the Senate last month in Balochistan, in which 25 people were killed. On Thursday, Pakistan’s military published details of a three-day raid on a militant hideout in a cave not far from Quetta, saying it had killed 12 “hardcore terrorists” from a banned local Islamist group and prevented IS from gaining a “foothold” in Balochistan.
China’s ambassador to Pakistan and other officials have often urged Islamabad to improve security, especially in Balochistan. The numbers of Pakistanis studying Mandarin has skyrocketed since 2014, when President Xi Jinping signed off on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Consequently, any attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan would come as an embarrassment to Islamabad, which prizes its relationship with Beijing. The two refer to each other as “all-weather friends”. Security in Balochistan has improved in recent years, but separatists, who view infrastructure projects as a ruse to steal natural resources, killed 10 Pakistani workers building a road near Gwadar this month. China has also expressed concern about militants in Pakistan linking up with what China views as separatists in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have been killed in violence in recent years.
Security beefed up
In light of current government’ directives, police and other law enforcement agencies are trying their level-best to ensure safety of the people and their property.
Security arrangements in the second Ashrah (10 days) of Ramazan have been made effective in order to curb any subversive activities.
IG Mehboob said, “Tight security arrangements have been made during the time of Taraweeh in mosques and for the markets as shopping for Eid has started.”
He said checking system at the entrance and exit points of the city has been made much more effective.
Replying to a query about the viral video issued by the IS showing the death of two Chinese nationals, he said, “There is no confirmation of their deaths yet.”
He added: “Unless the bodies of the kidnapped Chinese are received their deaths cannot be confirmed.” (With additional input from agencies)