For Beijing, the growing attacks put a question mark on Pakistan’s ability to secure its interests and huge investments, around $70 billion, in the country. If the trend continues, Beijing may well start relooking at its plans for future investments
At least three Chinese nationals are among four killed on Tuesday when a burqa-clad woman suicide bomber detonated herself near a van inside a university campus in the southern port city of Karachi in Pakistan, officials confirmed. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a banned Baloch separatist group, claimed the attack, confirming that it was executed by a female suicide bomber from its Majeeb Brigade, a notorious unit responsible for some of the most gruesome attacks.
The CCTV footage of the attacks showed the suicide bomber detonating herself outside the campus of the Karachi University just when a car carrying four Chinese faculty approached the gate, reported Express Tribune.
The suicide attack, the second in the country’s history executed by a woman, also killed a Pakistan driver and wounded two others, a Chinese national and a Pakistani security guard accompanying them. This is the second major terrorist attack, targeting Chinese nationals in Pakistan, since the one last year in July when nine Chinese construction workers were targeted near a dam in the northeast.
Condemning the attack, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said in a tweet, “I am deeply grieved on the loss of precious lives including of our Chinese friends in the heinous attack in Karachi today. My heartfelt condolences go to the bereaved families. I strongly condemn this cowardly act of terrorism. The perpetrators will surely be brought to justice.”
Several Baloch militant groups are fighting the Pakistan state in Balochistan, an important mineral-rich province with just five percent of the country’s total population, accusing the government of exploiting the region’s resources. Pakistan security forces often face allegations related to human rights violations, including enforced disappearances.
Lately, China, which has invested billions in Pakistan, has come under the radar of Baloch armed separatist groups, as many CPEC projects are in the province.
After the Dasu attack last year, where nine Chinese workers were killed, Beijing demanded the Pakistan government take necessary measures for the safety of Chinese nationals and its projects. However, enhanced security measures that were put up by the government irked the local population due to growing restrictions on their movement.
For Beijing, the growing attacks put a question mark on Pakistan’s ability to secure its interests and huge investments, around $70 billion, in the country. If the trend continues, Beijing may well start relooking at its plans for future investments.