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Suicide Bombing Targets Chinese Engineers in Pakistan, Third Major Attack in a Week

A suicide bomber targeted a convoy of Chinese engineers working on a dam project in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, resulting in the death of six individuals, according to police sources. This marks the third significant attack on Chinese interests in the South Asian nation within a week.

The preceding assaults focused on a Pakistan naval air base and a strategic port utilized by China in the southwest province of Balochistan, where Beijing has invested substantially in infrastructure projects.

The engineers were traveling from Islamabad to their camp at the dam construction site in Dasu, located in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as confirmed by regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur.

“Five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack,” Gandapur informed Reuters.

Dasu, home to a major dam project, has previously been targeted. In 2021, a bus explosion claimed the lives of 13 individuals, including nine Chinese nationals.

Chinese engineers have been actively involved in various projects across Pakistan, with Beijing investing over $65 billion in infrastructure development under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.

No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, similar to the 2021 incident. Pakistan faces dual insurgencies – one driven by Islamists and the other by ethnic militants advocating for secession.

Although ethnic militants primarily target Chinese interests in mineral-rich Balochistan, they typically operate in the country’s south and southwest, contrasting with the location of Tuesday’s attack in Pakistan’s northwest, an area predominantly influenced by Islamist groups.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have initiated relief operations at the scene, as confirmed by a separate police source to Reuters.

The convoy reportedly consisted of staff from China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), the same company targeted in the 2021 attack, which led to a temporary halt in construction activities.

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan has urged thorough investigations into the incident and called for robust measures to safeguard Chinese citizens, projects, and institutions within the country.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is slated to visit Beijing next week, according to sources, with the recent attacks underscoring the urgency of addressing security concerns between the two nations.

Pakistan’s military has attributed the recent surge in attacks to “foreign elements” aiming to disrupt internal security and sabotage strategic projects critical to Pakistan’s economic development, particularly those involving Chinese investments.

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar condemned Tuesday’s attack, reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to combating militant threats and ensuring the safety of Chinese nationals within its borders.

The Pakistani foreign office emphasized the paramount importance of protecting Chinese interests in Pakistan and pledged continued collaboration with China to uphold security measures for Chinese citizens, projects, and institutions.

Source: Reuters

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