RAW, NDS nexus behind Dasu attack: FM

Qureshi says there are elements that cannot digest Chinese investment in Pakistan


Our Correspondent August 12, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday maintained that Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) were behind the Dasu bus tragedy last month.

On July 14, at least 13 people – nine Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis – were killed and around two dozen others suffered injuries when a shuttle bus they were travelling in plunged into a deep ravine after an explosion on board.

The bus was ferrying the Chinese and Pakistani workers to an under-construction tunnel site of the Dasu Hydropower Project in the remote Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, the minister said Afghanistan’s soil was used for the attack and the investigators were “clearly looking at the traces of its planning and executing meeting with the nexus of NDS and RAW”.

“What do they want? Why the nexus had carried it [attack] out? We think there are elements that cannot digest Chinese investment in Pakistan as well as the growing economic cooperation,” he added.

Also read: China asks Pakistan to conduct thorough probe into Dasu incident

Lauding the efforts of the investigation team, the minister said it was a blind case but Pakistani institutions had managed to trace it.

On July 14, at least 13 people – nine Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis – were killed and around two dozen others suffered injuries when a shuttle bus they were travelling in plunged into a deep ravine after an explosion on board.

The bus was ferrying the Chinese and Pakistani workers to an under-construction tunnel site of the Dasu Hydropower Project in the remote Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, the minister said Afghanistan’s soil was used for the attack and the investigators were “clearly looking at the traces of its planning and executing meeting with the nexus of NDS and RAW”.

“What do they want? Why the nexus had carried it [attack] out? We think there are elements that cannot digest Chinese investment in Pakistan as well as the growing economic cooperation,” he added.

Lauding the efforts of the investigation team, the minister said it was a blind case but Pakistani institutions had managed to trace it.

"We examined footage of 36 CCTV cameras and the area under the investigation was almost 1,400 kilometres."

Qureshi noted that the Pakistani authorities had traced the handlers of the incident, saying that the government now knew who they were connected with.

“The vehicle used [in the attack] was smuggled into Pakistan.”

The minister went on to say that the first target of perpetrators was the Diamer-Bhasha dam site, and not the Dasu hydropower project.

"When they could not succeed [to target Diamer-Bhasha dam site], they targeted the Dasu project.”

Qureshi appreciated the Chinese leadership for showing patience and understanding the situation.

“The Chinese are satisfied with the investigation and have been kept in the loop.”

The minister said the government had strengthened security around development projects.

“All CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] projects will continue and be completed in time.”

The minister resolved that the Pakistan-China all-weather strategic partnership would not fall prey to such attacks and continue to strengthen and expand.

Speaking on the occasion, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) DG Javed Iqbal said a thumb and a limb were found at the crime scene which belonged to the suicide bomber.

He added that 14 different characters were involved in the attack and was headed by a person named Tariq who was a member of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

"We have arrested three suspects [out of the total 14 characters involved]."

He said the smuggled vehicle used in the incident was first purchased by a resident of Swat named Hussain, who later handed it over to the execution party on July 7 this year.

The K-P CTD chief said Tariq and another suspect Muawiya were trained in Afghanistan by RAW and NDS to carry out the attack, adding that the suicide bomber Khalid aka Sheikh was an Afghan national.

(With input from APP)

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