Pakistan rebel group warns China of harsher attacks

A Pakistan separatist group on Wednesday warned of more violent attacks on Chinese targets, a day after a suicide bomber killed three Chinese teachers posted from Beijing to the southern city of Karachi.

The Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack which killed three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver near the gate of the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi.

A female bomber detonated explosives next to their minibus.

“Hundreds of highly trained male and female members of the Baloch Liberation Army’s Majeed Brigade are ready to carry out deadly attacks in any part of Balochistan and Pakistan,” a spokesman for the group, Jeeyand Baloch, said in a statement published in English.

The spokesman threatened Beijing with “even harsher” attacks unless China halts “exploitation projects” and “occupying of the Pakistani state”.

Chinese nationals and business and investment interests have regularly been targeted by separatists in Balochistan, where Beijing is involved in lucrative mining and energy projects. Baloch separatist fighters have been fighting for a greater share of their province’s natural resources for decades, mostly focusing attacks on natural gas projects, infrastructure and the security forces.

In recent years the group has started attacking Chinese projects and workers.

A security official at the university said he had previously raised concerns about the safety of the 15 Chinese staff on the campus.

“Reports emerged in February that an attack might be carried out on campus,” the source, who asked not be named, told the AFP news agency.

The bomber was identified as 30-year-old Shaari Baloch, a married mother of an eight-year-old girl and four-year-old boy, the Baloch group said, adding that she was a science teacher studying for a master’s degree at the university.

Suicide attacks by women are very rare in Pakistan, reported only four times in recent years.

China’s Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the attack on its nationals and has demanded Pakistan punish the perpetrators and prevent such incidents from happening again.

“Belt and Road”

Balochistan and its deep-water port in Gwadar are a major link in China’s Belt and Road network of infrastructure and energy projects stretching to the Middle East and beyond.

In April 2021, a suicide bomb attack at a luxury hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, killed four and wounded dozens.

The ambassador was unhurt in that attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan Taliban.

In July last year, a bus carrying engineers to a construction site near a dam in northwestern Pakistan was hit by a bomb, killing 13 people including nine Chinese workers.

The attack, which went unclaimed, frayed relations between Islamabad and Beijing, and Pakistan later paid millions in compensation to the families of the Chinese workers killed.