9, including 7 Chinese, killed in northern Pakistan explosion: Source

Blast hits bus near site of under construction dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, China for ‘probe, punishment’.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan / ANKARA, Turkey (AA) – At least nine people, including seven Chinese nationals, were killed in a blast targeting a bus in northern Pakistan on Wednesday morning, a source confirmed.

The explosion hit the bus carrying Chinese workers and engineers to the construction site of Dasu dam in Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a local government official told Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity. “Apparently it was carried out through an improvised explosive device,” the official said.

He said seven Chinese nationals and two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers died on the spot, while at least eight others are critically injured who have been shifted to a hospital.

While the area has been cordoned off, police are on the site for further investigation, the official added.

The Dasu hydropower project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion project aimed at connect China’s northwestern Xinjiang province to the port of Gwadar in Balochistan.

Pakistan is a close ally of China, and a large number of Chinese nationals are based in the country to supervise the infrastructure projects. Pakistan’s army created a special security division for the security of CPEC and its workforce.

In April, a bomb explosion at a luxury hotel in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, killed at least five people. Chinese ambassador Nong Rong was staying at the hotel, but was not present there when the blast occurred.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban terrorist group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

In 2018, separatists killed at least four people in an attack on the Chinese consulate in the port city of Karachi.

China seeks probe, punishment to perpetrators

Beijing has demanded a thorough probe, and punishment to those behind the attack.

“Pakistani security forces have taken measures to control the situation and properly evacuated and treated the wounded,” Zhao Lijian, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry told a news conference in Beijing.

“China has asked Pakistan to thoroughly investigate, arrest perpetrators, and protect the Chinese people’s safety,” the state-run Global Times newspaper quoted him as saying.

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