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China expresses ‘extremely grave concern’ over Karachi bombing, demands security for its nationals amid deteriorating security situation in Pakistan

The attack, which came hours before Sharif departed for his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, raised concerns both for Pakistan and China amid an increasingly deteriorating security environment in the wake of a spree of deadly attacks by the Pakistan Taliban (TTP), Baloch groups, and the ISIS

Apr 27, 2022
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Suicide bombing killed three Chinese nationals in Pakistan (Photo: Dawn)

China has expressed “extremely grave concern” after a suicide bombing killed three Chinese nationals in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi and demanded Pakistan make a thorough investigation and take “all measures” to ensure the safety of its nationals as militants are increasingly targeting Chinese interests in the country.

Hours after the bombing, China’s assistant minister of foreign affairs Wu Jianghao made an urgent phone call to the Pakistani ambassador to China to express "extremely grave concern."

“Pakistani side should immediately make a thorough investigation of the incident, apprehend and punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law, and take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in Pakistan,” the assistant minister told the envoy, according to a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

On Tuesday evening, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif personally visited the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad and offered condolence to deceased people while also assuring that his government will “hunt down the perpetrators.”

The government, he said, will “never allow any force to undermine the China-Pakistan Friendship”. 

The attack, which came hours before Sharif departed for his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, raised concerns both for Pakistan and China amid an increasingly deteriorating security environment in the wake of a spree of deadly attacks by the Pakistan Taliban (TTP), Baloch groups, and the ISIS.

Madiha Afzal, an expert on Pakistan, said that militants will exploit the ongoing political instability and uncertainty.

“Today's terrorist attack at Karachi University that killed three Chinese nationals -- including the head of the university's Confucius Institute -- has to have made security China's biggest concern (by far) in Pakistan,” Madiha, who is a fellow at Brookings Foreign Policy, said.

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), one of the several Baloch armed groups, has now increasingly focused on targeting Chinese interests in Pakistan. Besides the Tuesday bombing, the group had earlier been behind the 2018 attack on the Chinese Consulate, the Karachi Stock market attack in 2020.

Avinash Paliwal, another expert on the region, opined that the BLA’s growing willingness to use suicide bombings to target the urban centers should cause alarm in the GHQ  (General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi).
“This is a start of a whole new chapter in the Baloch insurgency,” Paliwal, who is an associate professor at the University of Landon, said in a Twitter thread while terming the killing of Karima Baloch— one of the most vocal Baloch activists, who was allegedly hunted down by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI —in Toronto in 2020 a “tipping point” in the reinventing the insurgency.

(SAM)

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