China seeks probe as six killed in suicide attack on Dasu Dam staff convoy

  • Embassy says making every effort to handle aftermath of attack together with Pakistani side
  • Interior Minister visits Chinese embassy, briefs Ambassador about details of blast, rescue operations

SWAT/ISLAMABAD: Chinese authorities urged Pakistan to investigate and punish the perpetrators as at least six people, including five Chinese engineers, one of them a female, were killed in an alleged suicide attack in Besham area of Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the police and district administration confirmed.

Regional Police Officer (RPO) Malakand Division Muhammad Ali Gandapur confirmed the incident and said that a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a vehicle carrying Chinese engineers to Dasu camp in district Kohistan from Islamabad, resulting in the death of five Chinese nationals, including a woman. The Pakistani driver was also killed in the incident, he added.

After the explosion, the vehicle fell into a deep ditch.

 

The RPO Malakand said that among the dead Chinese engineers there was also a woman.

He further said that the Chinese civil engineers were going from Islamabad to the Dasu camp in Kohistan district. The relief teams recovered the bodies and shifted them to Besham Hospital and later the bodies of the Chinese residents were sent to Islamabad while the driver’s body was sent to Patan in Kohistan, the regional police chief informed.

“We will investigate from where and how the vehicle of a suicide bomber came and how it happened,” the RPO said.

Rescue 1122 station head Sheraz Khan said that the bodies were being shifted to the Besham Tehsil Headquarters Hospital.

The rescue official said that after the blast, the vehicle with the Chinese passengers fell into a gorge and caught fire. A rescue team then reached the spot and put out the fire, he added.

After the incident, a heavy contingent of security personnel reached the spot and cordoned off the area for a search.

After the incident, the authorities temporarily closed the Karakoram Highway for traffic between Besham and Kohistan.

The spokesperson for Dasu project Dr Rehmat Ali confirmed that the Chinese nationals were identified as four men and a woman, adding that their bodies were being taken to Islamabad.

Statement by the Chinese Embassy on the attack

The Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Pakistan launched an emergency plan immediately after the attack, requesting the Pakistani side to thoroughly investigate the attack and severely punish the perpetrators, said the statement by the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan.

It said the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Pakistan strongly condemn this terrorist attack, express deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathy to the bereaved families, and are making every effort to handle the aftermath together with the Pakistani side.

The statement said, “At around 1pm on 26th March local time, a Chinese company’s bus carrying staff member on the Dasu Hydropower Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province was hit by terrorist attack. Five Chinese citizens and 1 Pakistani citizen were unfortunately deceased.”

Meanwhile, The Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Pakistan are taking all necessary measures to protect the safety of Chinese citizens, institutions and projects in Pakistan, and to ensure such incidents will not happen again.

The Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Pakistan remind Chinese citizens, enterprises in Pakistan to pay close attention to the security situation, enhance security alerts, strengthen security measures, and make every effort to take safety precautions.

 

Recent terrorist incidents dastardly acts targeting internal security: ISPR

A statement from the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) after the attack said that the Besham 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.

“Strategic projects and sensitive sites vital for Pakistan’s economic progress and the well-being of its people are being targeted as a conscious effort to retard our progress and sow discord between Pakistan and its strategic allies and partners, most notably China.

“Certain foreign elements are complicit in aiding and abetting terrorism in Pakistan, driven by their vested interests. Despite the veneer of innocence, these elements are being continuously exposed as sponsors of terror,” the ISPR said.

It added that such “heinous acts of violence” against innocent civilians, foreigners and the armed forces would not deter the resolve of the Pakistani people, security forces and the country’s partners to “root out the menace [of] terrorism from our country”.

“Pakistan, as the frontline state against terror, remains perhaps the only nation directly confronting the international terrorist enterprise with absolute steadfastness and full resolve of the state.

“With the unwavering support of the resilient nation and our iron-clad ally China, we will ensure that all those involved in aiding terrorism, directly or indirectly, are held accountable and find their due comeuppance. Together we will prevail over adversity and evil,” the ISPR concluded.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office (FO) also said Pakistan strongly condemned the heinous act of terrorism and said the country would take “all necessary measures to bring the terrorists and their facilitators to justice”.

It added that “such dastardly acts cannot dent the resolve of Pakistani nation to fight against the scourge of terrorism.”

https://twitter.com/ForeignOfficePk/status/1772609525599674454?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1772609525599674454%7Ctwgr%5E8b6dac51e58401f5f485bea3c6d121ba72239961%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dawn.com%2Fnews%2F1823903

The FO 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”.

“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.

“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,” the FO concluded.

 

Interior Minister briefs Chinese Envoy about rescue operation

Following suicide attack on the car of Chinese engineers in Besham, Federal Minister for Interior and Narcotic Control, Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi visited the Chinese embassy in Islamabad and briefed the Chinese Ambassador about the details of blast and ongoing rescue operations.

Strongly condemning the attack, the minister expressed heartfelt grief and sorrow, condolence to the families of the deceased Chinese citizens and said that the attack on the fraternal relations between Pakistan and China was intolerable.

Mohsin Naqvi said the entire Pakistani nation was an equal participant in the grief of its Chinese brothers, adding that the government would deal with the elements involved in the attack with iron hands by ensuring a comprehensive investigation of the incident.

He said the great bilateral relations would not be affected due to such attacks, expressed the complete solidarity with the families of the deceased Chinese citizens.

Mohsin Naqvi said the enemy had targeted the citizens of Pakistan’s most trusted friend country (China). He reiterated resolve that the enemy would be given a strapping response to the attack.

 

Condemnation

President Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the attack and expressed “deep grief” over the deaths of the Chinese nationals.

In a statement issued by the Presidency, he conveyed his condolences to the families of the Chinese nationals and the neighbouring government.

“Anti-Pakistan elements will never succeed in damaging Pak-China friendship,” President Zardari asserted.

Gandapur condemns terrorist attack on Chinese

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ali Amin Khan Gandapur on Tuesday condemned terrorist attack on the car of Chinese engineers in Shangla district and expressed his condolences to the Chinese government, saying targeting Chinese residents is very sad and condemnable.

Expressing regret over the loss of human lives, the KP CM asked the Inspector General of Police KP for a report on the incident. The Chief Minister expressed condolences to the Chinese government for the death of Chinese citizens.

The chief minister directed the concerned divisional and district administrations to ensure immediate medical assistance to the blast victims. The Chief Minister directed the concerned authorities to ensure foolproof security of foreign residents in the province.

Former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the attack and expressed his grief on the deaths of Chinese nationals.

In a statement posted on X, he said that the planners and the facilitators of the terror incident should be punished severely.

Extending his condolences to the Chinese government and praying for the speedy recovery of the injured, he said, “The miscreants of the Bisham incident cannot escape punishment.”

Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi also condemned the “suicide attack”, expressing “heartfelt condolences” to the bereaved families.

In a statement, he said, “We stand with the Chinese government and the families of the citizens killed in this hour of grief.

“Enemies have targeted the citizens of Pakistan’s extremely trusted friendly country. This was not an attack on Chinese citizens but also on Pakistan,” the minister added.

“The enemy will be given a strong response to this attack,” Naqvi vowed.

———- Co-Authored by Saleem Jadoon from Lahore   

Syed Shahabuddin
Syed Shahabuddin
Reporter at Pakistan Today

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