At least two children were killed and three persons, including a Chinese, were injured in a suicide attack on a vehicle carrying Chinese nationals in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province on Friday, the second such attack in over a month.
The attack took place in the Baloch Ward area in Gwadar, the port city of strategic importance due to the presence of Chinese workers and investment, a senior government official and police said.
“Two children who were playing nearby died while one Chinese sustained minor injuries,” Balochistan government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani said, adding that three persons, including the driver, were injured.
“The suicide bomber came close to the vehicle and blew himself up,” Shahwani said.
The injured have been shifted to GDA Hospital in Gwadar.
He said the police and officials of Counter-Terrorism Deparment have scene launched an investigation.
Shahwani said in a statement that he “strongly condemns the suicide attack on Chinese nationals’ vehicle in Gwadar.
Earlier, local police confirmed that a loud explosion was heard in the area, injuring people who were shifted to a local hospital.
No one has taken responsibility for the attack but in the past, Baloch nationalists and the Taliban militants often carried out such attacks against the security forces.
Gwadar is the culmination point of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
A large number of Chinese experts and workers are employed in Gwadar and the surrounding areas to complete various projects under the CPEC.
China is involved in several projects aimed at development of the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea which is itself part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure project.
In the last few months there has been an increase in terror attacks targeting Chinese nationals in Balochistan and Karachi who are working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and for private enterprises.
At least 13 people, including nine Chinese, were killed in a terrorist attack in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last month.
The bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the site of the under-construction Dasu Dam exploded on July 14. The bus fell into a deep ravine after the explosion in the Upper Kohistan district.
Pakistan had initially said the accident was caused due to technical problems and later an explosion occurred due to gas leakage. Later, it retracted from its earlier stand and acknowledged it was a terrorist attack.
Chinese nationals also came under attack in Karachi last month when they were fired upon by gunmen from a moving vehicle.
For Pakistan, ties with China are crucial due to its increasing economic dependence on Beijing.
This year, the two nations are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and more than 100 celebratory events have been planned of which over 60 events have already been held so far.