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Chinese Investigators Join Probe into Attack on Nationals in Pakistan

Chinese investigators arrived in Pakistan on Friday to participate in a probe into the killing of five Chinese nationals in a suicide attack, as confirmed by Pakistan’s interior ministry, aiming to thwart assaults that pose a threat to Islamabad’s efforts to modernize its economy.

Tuesday’s incident marked the third major attack in slightly over a week on China’s interests in the South Asian nation, where Beijing has invested over $65 billion in infrastructure projects under its broader Belt and Road initiative.

Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi met the Chinese investigative team at Beijing’s embassy and briefed them on the ongoing investigation, according to the statement.

In late 2022, the two allied countries commenced a joint investigation into an attack earlier that year on Chinese nationals and interests, which have witnessed a surge in recent months.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack, where a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of Chinese engineers working on a hydropower project in Dasu, Pakistan’s northwest, resulting in six casualties.

The bombing was preceded by a March 20 attack on a strategic port utilized by China in Balochistan, where Beijing has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, and a March 25 assault on a naval air base, also in the southwest. Both attacks were claimed by the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the most prominent among several separatist groups in Balochistan.

Dasu, a significant dam site, has previously been targeted, notably a bus explosion in 2021 that claimed 13 lives, including nine Chinese nationals, although no group claimed responsibility.

Following Tuesday’s attack, Chinese contractors suspended work on three hydropower projects due to security concerns, a government official stated, indicating it was a customary procedure after such incidents.

Pakistan grapples with twin insurgencies, one instigated by militants and the other by separatists seeking secession, attributing it to the government’s unfair distribution of natural resources in Balochistan province.

While militants primarily target Chinese interests in mineral-rich Balochistan, the recent bombing occurred in a different region.

Officials assert that Pakistan has established a specialized force comprising police and military personnel to ensure the security of Chinese operations.

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