13 Dead, Including 9 Chinese Nationals In Pakistan Bus Explosion
At least 13 people were killed after the bus they were traveling in fell into a ravine in a remote region of northern Pakistan, officials said.
Out of the deceased, 9 were Chinese nationals, 2 were Pakistani soldiers, a further 28 Chinese citizens were injured.
In a July 14th statement emailed to Al Jazeera, the Pakistani foreign ministry said the bus fell into the ravine in the Khyber-Paktunkhwa province following a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast.
“According to preliminary reports, nine Chinese nationals and three Pakistanis lost their lives. Chinese workers and accompanying Pakistani staff were proceeding to their work place for an ongoing project,” said the statement.
“The local authorities are providing all possible assistance to the injured.”
A senior administrative officer of the Hazara region told Reuters news agency the bus was carrying over 30 Chinese engineers to the site of the Dasu dam in Upper Kohistan.
Despite the official claim from Pakistan, China condemned the blast and asked Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the attack, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
Beijing asked Pakistan to protect the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing.
In its statement, the Pakistani foreign ministry said it “is closely in contact with the Chinese Embassy for coordination and facilitation”.
Pakistan and China are close friends and iron-brothers,” said the statement.
“Pakistan attaches great importance to safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in Pakistan.”
In a statement, the Chinese embassy said that “a certain project of a Chinese firm in Pakistan suffered an attack, which caused the deaths of Chinese nationals”.
It urged Chinese firms to strengthen their security procedures.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65bn investment plan under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative that is aimed at connecting western China to the Gwadar sea port in southern Pakistan.
Chinese engineers along with Pakistani construction workers have been working on the Dasu hydroelectric and other projects for several years in the region where the blast took place.
It should be noted that, a few days ago, in the same province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but in Kurram district, another terrorist attack was carried out.
Two Pakistani Frontier Corps soldiers were killed in a clash with militants.
The border guards were looking in the mountains for the employees of a telecommunications company who were abducted on July 6, who were engaged in the installation of antenna mast structures for cellular communications.
From the moment of the abduction, the militants even managed to demand a ransom for the hostages.
On July 12, the military managed to find one of the abducted who was shot and get on the trail of the terrorists.
In the ensuing clash, three militants were eliminated. The search for terrorists continues. According to the authorities, ISIS militants are behind the kidnapping of signalmen and the murder of the military.
In April, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide blast at a luxury hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador, who was unhurt, in southwest Balochistan.
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