Pakistan: 2 weeks after bus blast, Chinese nationals shot at
Weeks after a blast on a bus carrying Chinese engineers, two Chinese nationals were fired at by unidentified assailants in Karachi on Wednesday. One of the Chinese nationals sustained injuries in the attack and was shifted to a civil hospital in Karachi for treatment, reports said. The police confirmed that the injured individual is now stable and out of danger. Here are more details.
The police said two gunmen opened fire at the vehicle carrying Chinese nationals, who were working at a nearby factory. "Two men wearing face masks riding a motorcycle carried out the shooting," Karachi's southern district police chief Javed Akbar Riaz told Reuters. While the police would usually be aware of the foreigners' movement, Riaz said the Chinese were traveling without a police escort.
Confirming the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, "China is following this matter closely and the relevant case is still under investigation." Terming the incident an "isolated case," Lijian added, "We have full confidence in the Pakistan side's protection of Chinese citizens and assets in Pakistan." Notably, this is the second incident of attack on Chinese nationals within two weeks.
China has invested billions of dollars on various infrastructure projects in Pakistan, its close ally. However, the safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan is a concern as Pakistani separatists target them to mark their opposition to Chinese-backed projects. On July 14, nine Chinese engineers were killed when their bus was targeted in a bombing in Kohistan. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Chinese nationals have been targeted by Pakistani militants several times before. In April, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide attack at a hotel targeting the Chinese Ambassador, who remained unhurt. In 2019, gunmen killed eight people in a hotel overlooking a Chinese-backed project in Balochistan. Baloch insurgents also attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange (partly owned by the Chinese).