Nine Chinese engineers and three died on Wednesday when a bus travelling through northwest Pakistan’s mountainous region was “attacked”. According to reports, the bus blast happened near the Dasu hydropower plant in the Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Many have been reported injured.
Chinese engineers killed in Pakistan
The incident happened near the site where Chinese engineers and construction workers are helping Pakistan build a dam. The dam being built is a part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Following the blast, the bus fell into a deep Ravine causing further casualties. The injured have been admitted to a nearby hospital.
Responding to the initial report of the event, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan called it a “cowardly attack”. Speaking in the National Assembly, Awan said that it would “not divert attention from the special initiatives between Pakistan and its neighbours.” Condemning the attack, he further added that he will ask Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to give a briefing on the country’s security situation. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman condemned the incident as a “bombing”.
Pakistan bus blast: Beijing demands investigation
China has now asked Pakistan to further investigate the incident. Condemning the attack, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that he is in “shock”. Lijian urged Pakistan to investigate further and severely punish the perpetrators and also asked the government to “protect the safety of Chinese nationals, organisations and projects” in the country.
In a statement released soon after the Pakistan bus blast, the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan said that it strongly condemned the incident. While expressing condolences with the victims, the embassy also stated that it will do its best along with Pakistan to deal with the incident.
Through the official statement, the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan reminded Chinese citizens, enterprises and projects in Pakistan to pay close attention to the local security situation. It also urged the Chinese to strengthen the safety of project personnel and take precautions. It also mentioned that the Pakistan authorities are now investigating the issue. However, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry later denied all mentions of the event being an attack. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while offering condolences to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, said that the tragic incident was caused after the bus plunged into a ravine following a “mechanical failure.”
IMAGE: AP/REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE