Two killed as suicide bomber targets Chinese in Pakistan; Beijing says security situation ‘severe’ in Pakistan

A suicide bomber targeted a vehicle carrying Chinese workers in Pakistan’s restive southwestern province of Baluchistan, injuring a Chinese national and killing two Pakistani children playing by the roadside, confirmed Pakistani officials

Aug 21, 2021
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China-Pakistan

A suicide bomber targeted a vehicle carrying Chinese workers in Pakistan’s restive southwestern province of Baluchistan, injuring a Chinese national and killing two Pakistani children playing by the roadside, confirmed Pakistani officials. Beijing termed the security situation in Pakistan “severe” following the attack.

The Baluch Liberation Army (BLA), a militant group comprising ethnic Baloch, seeking the independence of Baluchistan from Pakistan, took responsibility for the attack, which happened near the port town of Gwadar. On the target were the Chinese workers who were returning from the under-construction East Bay Expressway. 

This is the third attack in recent months targeting Chinese nationals who are involved in China’s flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. 

At the time of the explosion on Friday, Chinese workers were traveling in three vehicles and were being escorted by Pakistani security forces, officials said. The attackers detonated the suicide vest when officials tried to intercept him.

Condemning the attack in a statement released on Friday, the Chinese Embassy demanded a "thorough investigation" and asked Pakistan to severely punish the perpetrators.”

The strong-worded statement also added, “At the same time, relevant departments at all levels in Pakistan must take practical and effective measures to accelerate to implement strengthened whole-process security measures and upgraded security cooperation mechanism to ensure that similar incidents will not happen again.”

Chinese projects under the CPEC and its nationals have lately come under increased attacks from anti-Pakistani groups. Earlier, in an attack by the TTP, commonly known as the Pakistan Taliban, nine Chinese workers were killed in the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. 

The attack led authorities to temporarily suspend the work on the Dasu dam site.  

The statement released by the Embassy also added, “Recently, the security situation in Pakistan has been severe. There have been several terrorist attacks in succession, resulting in the casualties of several Chinese citizens.”

Gwadar, a key port town and the site of several  CPEC projects, has come under the radar of Baloch separatists, resulting in increased attacks on projects sites where thousands of Chinese workers and professionals are involved. These projects, including road construction and power plants to agriculture development, have cost billions of dollars.
(SAM)