The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan and the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi have strongly condemned an attack on a convoy of Chinese engineers working on a project at Gwadar port, Pakistan on Sunday morning.
The convoy was ambushed by bombs and gunshots on their way from the airport to the port at 9:17 am Sunday local time, according to a statement released by the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi on Sunday. No injuries or casualties were reported in the attack.
The convoy of three SUVs and a van, all bulletproof, carried 23 Chinese personnel, the Global Times learned from one of the Chinese personnel.
An IED exploded during the attack and the van was shot at. A picture obtained by the Global Times shows the bulletproof glass on the window of a van belonging to the Chinese convoy cracked from the attack, and there were bullet holes on the windows.
All the personnel concerned have been properly relocated, according to the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan.
The Embassy and the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi on Sunday night strongly condemned the act of terrorism, and asked the Pakistani side to severely punish the attackers and to take practical and effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals, institutions and projects.
The Consulate General activated the emergency response plan immediately, reminding local Chinese nationals, enterprises and projects to be more vigilant, upgrade security initiatives, prevent security risks, closely monitor the security situation and ensure safety.
The Chinese Embassy and Consulate General urged Chinese nationals in Pakistan to maintain high vigilance, safeguard life and property safety, and strictly control large-scale gathering activities due to the severe security situation.
China will continue to work with Pakistan to jointly address the threat of terrorism and effectively protect the security of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan, said the embassy in a statement.
Pakistani security forces killed one terrorist and three others were injured during a security clearance operation in Gwadar, local media outlet Daily Pakistan reported Sunday. After getting intelligence about the presence of militants, security forces cordoned off the area and started a search operation to find other militants, according to Daily Pakistan.
The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a militant separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to media reports.
Chinese personnel have been targeted by terror attacks by Baloch militant groups many times.
In April 2022, a terror attack against the shuttle bus used by Karachi's Confucius Institute killed three Chinese teachers and their local driver, for which the BLA took responsibility.
In August 2021, two children were killed and three were wounded in an attack targeting Chinese nationals in Gwadar.
In July 2021, a shuttle bus blast in Pakistan that killed nine Chinese and four Pakistanis was confirmed to be a terrorist attack.
In April 2021, a deadly car bomb explosion that rocked a hotel which was hosting the Chinese ambassador in Quetta, Bolochistan province killed five people, for which Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility.
In 2018, the BLA attacked the Chinese Consulate-General in Karachi in south Pakistan, during which two police officers were killed. In May 2017, 10 workers were killed by two gunmen on motorbikes, which the BLA claimed was a response to the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The purpose of this BLA-planned terrorist attack is no different from the previous terror attacks against Chinese personnel, mainly because it wants to impact China-Pakistan cooperation, especially the CPEC, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.
The terrorist group deliberately set the attack in August as the CPEC had just celebrated the 10th anniversary of its cooperation in July and was hoping to take advantage of a period of change in the administration in the country.
Qian noted that although the ongoing unrest in Balochistan has limited the Pakistani government's presence in the province, the Pakistani government managed to protect Chinese personnel from being harmed in this attack, which demonstrates the strength of their protection. The attack will not affect the continued construction of CPEC in the future, he said.