Two children were killed while three others, including a Chinese national, injured in a suicide attack targeting a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals near the East Bay Expressway in Gwadar, Balochistan on Friday.
Just a month after the attack on the Chinese nationals at the Dasu dam site in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which left at least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis dead as well as around two dozen others injured, the terrorists have attacked the Chinese nationals in restive Balochistan.
“Today in the evening, in a cowardly attack, a convoy of Chinese nationals comprising four Chinese vehicles with integral security details of Pakistan Army and police contingent was targeted on East Bay Expressway in Gwadar,” a statement of the interior ministry stated.
The interior ministry spokesperson said the targeting took place along the coastal road near Fishermen Colony. “A young boy ran out of the colony to target the Chinese vehicles.”
Fortunately, the spokesperson stated, soldiers of Pakistan Army in plain clothes employed as security rushed to intercept the boy, who immediately “blew himself up” about 15 to 20 metres from the convoy. Resultantly, he revealed, a Chinese national got injured, adding that he is in stable condition and was rushed to the nearest hospital in Gwadar.
“Unfortunately, two innocent children playing nearby lost their precious lives while another two children received critical injuries in the heinous act,” the statement read, adding that they were taken to the hospital.
The political experts said that the second attack on Chinese national in just over a month’s time has set the alarm bells ringing, adding that the attack is thought to be an attempt to sabotage the economic cooperation under the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
“Both Pakistan and China recognise the threats posed to their cooperation and collaboration towards growth and development of their communities under the evolving regional environment,” the interior ministry said in an apparent reference to CPEC.
Since July 14, when a shuttle bus ferrying Chinese and Pakistani workers plunged into a deep ravine after an explosion on board near an under-construction tunnel site of the Dasu Hydropower Project in the remote Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the government vowed to beef up the security of the Chinese national.
After Friday’s attack in Gwadar, the ministry said that it is cognisant of hostile designs and is “already undertaking a comprehensive review of security of Chinese brothers and committed to ensuring their safe stay in Pakistan in this journey of progress”.
“We reaffirm our Chinese brothers of our wholehearted endeavours to deal with these threats comprehensively,” the ministry said. “In this hour of distress, we are saddened by injury to our Chinese brother and loss of [lives of our] innocent Pakistani children. Both countries stand together firmly in defeating the inimical acts aiming to undermine our cooperation and friendship.”
After the Dasu attack, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) were behind the Dasu bus tragedy.
The minister while addressing a news conference in Islamabad had revealed that Afghanistan’s soil was used in the attack and the investigators were “clearly looking at the traces of its planning and execution by 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 had added.
Initially after the attack, the China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) had announced that it would discontinue work on the Dasu project and ended the employment contract with the Pakistani staffers. Later, the Chinese firm, however, had announced that it would continue working on the project.
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