India rejects ‘absurd comments’ by Foreign Minister Qureshi, China ‘appreciates’ Pakistan over probe results
ISLAMABAD / NEW DELHI (AA) – Pakistan has blamed India and Afghanistan for a suicide attack last month which killed nine Chinese workers, but India has rejected what it called “absurd comments”.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the July attack that hit the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was plotted and carried out from Afghanistan with a close nexus between the Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies.
“Our final investigation clearly shows that this attack was planned and executed from the Afghan soil with the help of NDS (Afghan National Directorate of Security) and (Indian intelligence agency) RAW,” Qureshi told a news conference.
He added both countries cannot bear the growing relations between China and Pakistan and Beijing’s billion dollars investment in his country.
“They (RAW and NDS) failed in their attempts,” Qureshi said.
On July 14, at least 12 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed and 27 others wounded in an explosion in northern Pakistan when a suicide bomber hit a vehicle carrying Chinese workers in Dasu to their workplace for an ongoing hydropower project.
The Dasu hydropower project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion project aimed at connecting China’s northwestern Xinjiang province to the port of Gwadar in Balochistan.
Qureshi said it was a suicide attack and the vehicle used was smuggled in from Afghanistan.
“China is fully satisfied with our investigation and we (Pakistan and China) have decided to expose the real culprits and deal them with iron hands,” he said, adding the enemies will not succeed in their nefarious designs.
The head of the investigation team, Javed Iqbal, told the reporters they arrested all the local facilitators of the attack. However, the main masterminds, Tariq and Muavia, went back to Afghanistan after the attack, he added.
“We will request the Afghan government to hand over these people to Pakistan as we already have an understanding that both countries will not allow their soil to be used against each other,” Qureshi said.
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, terrorists killed at least four people in an attack on the Chinese Consulate in the port city of Karachi.
India rejects ‘absurd comments’
India, however, rejected remarks by Pakistan’s top diplomat, dubbing them “absurd”.
“This is yet another attempt by Pakistan to malign India, in a bid to deflect international attention from its role as the epicenter of regional instability and a safe haven for proscribed terrorists,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said on Friday.
He said India has been at the forefront of global counter-terrorism efforts and works with international community, “which is well aware of Pakistan’s credentials when it comes to terrorism.”
“Such desperate attempts by Pakistan at peddling lies and propaganda will therefore find few takers,” Bagchi asserted.
China ‘appreciates’ Pakistan over probe results
Soon after Pakistan made public its investigation, China said it Pakistan had made “major progress within a short period of time.”
“China pays great attention to this and expresses appreciation to Pakistan’s active efforts,” said Hua Chunying, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
“China and Pakistan will follow the important consensus reached by the leaders on both sides, ascertain all the facts and truth, and hold the culprits accountable and bring them to justice,” she said in a statement, adding the two countries “will keep strengthening security cooperation mechanisms to ensure the safety of Chinese projects, people and institutions in Pakistan.”
Hu said: “Terrorism is the common enemy of all mankind. China firmly opposes any force using terrorism to seek geopolitical gains and calls on countries in the region to collaborate in eradicating all terrorist organizations so as to uphold common security and development interests of all countries.”