Opposed to ‘any force’ using terrorism to seek ‘geopolitical gains’: China on Pakistan’s bus blast probe

Beijing, Aug 13 (PTI) China on Friday said it firmly opposes “any force” using terrorism to seek “geopolitical gains”, a day after the Pakistan government alleged that India and Afghanistan were behind a recent suicide attack on a bus in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that killed 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday after the completion of the probe into the July 14 blast that hit a shuttle bus carrying Chinese and Pakistani engineers and workers, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Afghan soil was used and the vehicle involved in the attack was smuggled from Afghanistan.

Qureshi accused India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) of carrying out the attack in Pakistan.

In response to a question on the Pakistani government’s updates on the investigation into the case of the Dasu terrorist attack, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in a statement posted on the ministry’s website said the Pakistani side’s investigation into the terrorist attack has seen “major progress within a short period of time”.

“China pays great attention to this and expresses appreciation to Pakistan’s active efforts. Further investigation by Pakistan is still ongoing at the moment,” she said.

China and Pakistan will follow the important consensus reached by the leaders on both sides, ascertain all the facts and truth, and hold the culprits accountable and bring them to justice, she said.

“Terrorism is the common enemy of all mankind. China firmly opposes any force using terrorism to seek geopolitical gains and calls on countries in the region to collaborate in eradicating all terrorist organisations so as to uphold common security and development interests of all countries”, Hua said.

Meanwhile, both countries will keep strengthening security cooperation mechanisms to ensure the safety of Chinese projects, people and institutions in Pakistan, she added.

Thirteen people including nine Chinese personnel were killed and 27 others injured when the bomb exploded in a bus carrying Chinese engineers at Dasu area of Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where a Chinese company is building a 4,300-megawatt hydropower project on the Indus river.

China also rushed a special team amid confusing signals from Pakistan that it could be a gas blast. Islamabad later admitted it was a bomb blast stating that traces of explosive substance was found from the scene.

The Dasu bus blast had accentuated Beijing’s concerns as thousands of Chinese personnel worked in installations and projects being built under the aegis of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Pakistan’s foreign minister Qureshi said that 14 people were involved in the attack that was headed by a person named Tariq who is a member of proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

India has previously trashed as “baseless propaganda” Pakistan’s claim that it was behind some of the terror attacks in the country and asked Islamabad to take “credible and verifiable” action against terrorism emanating from its soil instead.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi last month asked Pakistan to focus on setting its own house in order in containing terror networks and said that the international community is well aware of that country’s credentials when it comes to terrorism.

The Foreign Office in Islamabad said on Thursday that the Pakistani authorities have conducted thorough investigations of the incident and shared the findings with the Chinese side at every stage.

The planning for the terrorist attack was done in Afghanistan, with provision of material support as well, including the vehicle, while the suicide bomber was trained in Afghanistan and brought to Pakistan to carry out the attack, it claimed.

“Some of those involved in the attack have been arrested, while others are at large in Afghanistan. An MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance) request is being made to the Afghanistan Government, the FO said in a statement.

“We would not allow any hostile force to undermine the iron-clad friendship between Pakistan and China,” it added.