China condemns suicide attack on its nationals in Gwadar, asks Pakistan to take effective measures

Islamabad, Aug 21 (PTI) China on Saturday asked Pakistan to take “practical and effective” measures and overhaul the security mechanism to forestall attacks on its nationals working on various infrastructure projects after a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of Chinese nationals in the restive Balochistan province, in the second such attack in over a month.

The Chinese embassy here in a statement strongly condemned Friday’s suicide attack on the convoy of Chinese nationals comprising four vehicles in Gwadar, the port city of strategic importance due to the presence of Chinese workers and investment.

In the attack, two children who were playing nearby were killed while one Chinese national was among several others who sustained injuries.

The embassy said that it launched the emergency plan immediately, demanding Pakistan to properly treat the wounded, conduct a thorough investigation on the attack, and severely punish the perpetrators.

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 mechanisms to ensure that similar incidents will not happen again, it said.

The embassy further said that recently, the security situation in Pakistan has been “severe and there have been several terrorist attacks in succession, resulting in the casualties of several Chinese citizens.”

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan asked its citizens in the country to be vigilant, strengthen safety precautions, reduce unnecessary outings, and take effective security protection.

The Pakistani authorities in a statement said that the bomber targeted the convoy of Chinese nationals comprising four Chinese vehicles with integral security details of Pakistan Army and police contingent on the East Bay Expressway near Fishermen Colony in Gwadar.

A young boy ran out of the colony once the convoy reached there to target Chinese vehicles. Fortunately, soldiers of the Pakistan Army in plain clothes employed as hang around security rushed to intercept the boy; who immediately exploded himself about 15-20 metres away from the convoy, according to the statement.

Pakistan said cognizant of hostile designs, it already undertook a comprehensive review of security of the Chinese and was committed to ensuring their safe stay in Pakistan in this journey of progress.

We reaffirm to our Chinese brothers our wholehearted endeavours to deal with these threats comprehensively, it said.

Earlier, Balochistan government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani said in a statement that he strongly condemn suicide attack on Chinese nationals’ vehicle in Gwadar .

He said the police and official of Counter-Terrorism Department arrived on the crime scene and launched investigation.

No one has taken responsibility for the attack but in the past, Baloch nationalists and the Taliban militants often carried out such attacks against the security forces.

Gwadar is the culmination point of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

A large number of Chinese experts and workers are employed in Gwadar and the surrounding areas to complete various projects under the CPEC.

China is involved in several projects aimed at development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea which is itself part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.

In the last few months there has been an increase in terror attacks targeting Chinese nationals in Balochistan and Karachi who are working on the CPEC projects and for private enterprises.

At least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed in a terrorist attack in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last month.

Chinese nationals also came under attack in Karachi last month when they were fired upon by gunmen from a moving vehicle.

For Pakistan, ties with China are crucial due to its increasing economic dependence on Beijing.

This year, the two nations are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and more than 100 celebratory events have been planned of which over 60 events have already been held so far.