Chinese investigators arrive to probe Besham suicide attack

In Local
March 29, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

Chinese investigators arrived in Pakistan on Friday to join a probe into the killing of five Chinese nationals in a suicide attack, the interior ministry said, seeking to stem assaults threatening Islamabad’s drive to modernise the economy.

Tuesday’s incident was the third major attack in little over a week on China’s interests in Pakistan, where Beijing has invested more than $65 billion in infrastructure projects as part of its wider Belt and Road initiative.

Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi met the Chinese team of investigators at Beijing’s embassy and briefed them on the investigation so far, said a statement issued by the government.

Two days earlier, officials shared with the Chinese embassy the preliminary findings of their investigation into the attack.

In late 2022, the two allied countries started a joint investigation into an attack that year on China’s nationals and its interests, which have seen a rise in recent months.

Also read: Chinese workers to resume work on hydropower project days after Besham attack

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack, in which a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers working on a hydropower project at Dasu, killing six people.

The bombing followed a March 20 attack on Gwadar port used by China in Balochistan, where Beijing has poured billions of dollars into infrastructure projects, and a March 25 assault on a naval air base in Turbat.

Both attacks were claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the most prominent of several separatist groups in Balochistan.

Dasu, the site of a major dam, has been attacked in the past, with a bus blast in 2021 killing 13 people, nine Chinese among them, although no group claimed responsibility.

Chinese interests are under attack primarily by ethnic militants seeking to push Beijing out of mineral-rich Balochistan, but that area is far from the site of Tuesday’s bombing.

Pakistan has set up a dedicated force of police and military to ensure security for Chinese activities, officials say.

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