A bus blast, including nine Chinese, killed 13 people in northern Pakistan on Wednesday after Beijing said it was a bomb attack, but Islamabad called it a vehicle breakdown.
Two Pakistani soldiers were also among the dead after the blast sent a bus across the canyon, local government and police sources told Reuters.
Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have been working on hydropower projects for several years as part of the Beijing Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Kyber Pak Tung Kwa, where the explosion took place.
The Chinese embassy in Pakistan has confirmed that nine people have died. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called the explosion a bomb attack, but did not provide details, so it condolenced and called for both its personnel and the project’s thorough investigation and protection.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said a mechanical failure caused a gas leak, leading to an explosion.
However, state chief police officer Moazzam Jah Ansari said earlier that Reuters was suspected of cheating. “It looks like a hindrance,” he said.
A senior official in the Hazara region asked not to name him, but said Bass had carried more than 30 Chinese engineers to Dasdam, Upper Kohistan.
Billions of investments
The Das Hydropower Project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $ 65 billion investment plan aimed at connecting western China with the port of Gwadar in southern Pakistan.
“This is clearly a carefully planned and informed terrorist act,” said the editorial of the Chinese tabloid Global Times, run by the official People’s Daily of the ruling Communist Party, as the most serious attack on the Chinese people. Said there is. recent years.
Chinese working in Pakistan have been previously attacked, especially in the southwestern state of Balochistan, where separatist militants rebelled against authorities in the states where China is developing mines and ports.
Separatists also attacked the Chinese consulate in the southern city of Karachi. In addition, Islamic extremists have previously targeted the Chinese people.
According to officials, ambulances were used to carry the injured, including Chinese engineers, to a hospital in Das, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the blast site.
“Police and bomb squads are on the scene,” added local official Alif Khan Yusufzai outside the hospital, adding that an investigation is awaited to confirm the details.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was in close contact with the Chinese embassy in Islamabad, saying “Pakistan attaches great importance to the safety and security of the Chinese people, projects and institutions.”
By Jibran Ahmad and Yew Lun Tian