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China demands “thorough investigation” into suicide blast killing five Chinese engineers

Screengrab of Viral Video of blast in Besham (Photo/X)

China has demanded a “thorough investigation” after five of its nationals were killed in an attack on a convoy in Bisham tehsil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla, Dawn reported.

Geo News reported, citing Malakand’s deputy inspector general of police (DIG) on Tuesday that a suicide bomber crashed his vehicle full of explosives into the car in which the Chinese nationals were travelling.

Five Chinese nationals were killed in the attack. A Pakistani driver sustained injuries and was shifted to a local hospital, but he too succumbed to his wounds.

The Chinese nationals were engineers who were going to Dasu camp, Kohistan from Islamabad, the official added.

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan has demanded investigations into the attack and “severe punishment” for the perpetrators.

“The Chinese embassy and consulates in Pakistan have immediately launched emergency work, demanding that the Pakistani side conduct a thorough investigation into the attack, severely punish the perpetrators and take practical and effective measures to protect the safety of Chinese citizens,” the embassy said in a statement.

In an earlier incident in July 2021, 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed when a coach carrying them to an under-construction tunnel site of the 4,300-megawatt Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in the Upper Kohistan area after an explosion, Dawn reported.

Although the Foreign Office had initially termed the incident an accident, the Pakistan government later said traces of explosives had been found, with the information minister at the time saying “terrorism could not be ruled out”.

In November 2022, an anti-terrorism court in Hazara awarded the death sentence to two men after convicting them for planning the attack.

In November 2022, an anti-terrorism court in Hazara awarded the death sentence to two men after convicting them of planning the attack.

Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that the Bisham incident and other recent terrorist incidents in Turbat and Gwadar were “dastardly acts aimed at destabilising the internal security situation.”

“The whole nation stands in solidarity with our Chinese brothers and unequivocally condemns this cowardly act,” it added.

Pakistan’s Foreign office said the attack was orchestrated by the “enemies of Pakistan-China friendship”, reiterating that the government would “resolutely act against all such forces and defeat them,” Dawn reported.

“The people and government of Pakistan stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Chinese friends in this difficult time and extend sincere condolences to the families of the Chinese nationals killed in the attack,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“Pakistan and China are close friends and iron brothers. The life and safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan is of paramount importance. Pakistan will continue to work with our Chinese brothers in ensuring the safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in Pakistan,” it concluded.