A bus carrying dam workers exploded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwest Pakistan, GeoTV reported. Nine Chinese are among the dead, and Beijing is calling on Islamabad to find and punish those responsible.
According to Reuters, citing administrative sources, the bus was carrying Chinese specialists working at the Dasu Dam – surveyors, engineers, maintenance personnel. The explosion set the engine on fire and the vehicle fell into the gorge. Among the 13 dead, 9 are Chinese citizens.
A police source told AFP that the bus caught fire from an unidentified source of explosion. At the same time, police officer Mohamed Yusuf told DPA that an improvised explosive device detonated on the side of the road on which the bus was being driven by thirty dam workers.
The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, TASS reports, said: “The Chinese mission in Pakistan was attacked, which killed Chinese civilians.” It called on Chinese companies operating in the country to take the necessary security measures.
The safety of Chinese workers in Pakistan is a constant concern for Beijing, which has invested billions of dollars in the country. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Chao Liziang called on Pakistan to punish the perpetrators severely and protect the safety of the Chinese in the country: “China has asked Pakistan to conduct a thorough investigation, bring the perpetrators to justice and punish them severely.”
So far, according to dpa, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Islamist militants with close ties to the Pakistani Taliban and nationalist insurgents have too often pursued Chinese interests in Pakistan lately.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $ 65 billion investment plan under the Beijing Belt and Road Initiative. It aims to connect western China with the seaport of Gwadar in southern Pakistan.