China says its staff safe in Pakistan consulate attack

Hannah Rogers
November 25, 2018

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a blast, and local TV channels have broadcast images of a plume of smoke.

Officials said that all three attackers were killed and that two police officers were dead.

Earlier today, three terrorists of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) carried out an attack, attempting to barge into the consulate when the security forces responded to the situation effectively.

Karachi police chief Amir Shaikh said the three attackers came in a auto filled with explosives but failed to get inside the heavily fortified compound.

He also ordered an investigation and vowed that such incidents would never be able to undermine relations with China, which are "mightier than the Himalayas and deeper than the Arabian Sea".

Dr Seemi Jamali, a spokeswoman at the Jinnah Hospital, said the bodies of two police officers were brought to the hospital while one of the consulate guards who was wounded, is being treated. Many of them are linked to the sprawling China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, known as CPEC. Meanwhile, China has condemned an attack on its consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi that killed two policemen.

China has been expressing concern over the security of citizens working on the CPEC and other Chinese projects.

Neighbour China is Pakistan's closest ally and its main benefactor, ploughing in billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, as part of its vast Belt and Road initiative. Resident there allege that the Chinese-led expansion of the port has stripped Baloch fishermen of their livelihoods, pushed them out of the homes and siphoned off their water supply.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement the USA sends its deepest condolences to the victims' families and wish for the speedy recovery of those injured.

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The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) insurgent group claimed responsibility for the attack.

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The Chinese Embassy in the capital Islamabad says all staff members at the consulate are safe.

"We have been seeing the Chinese as an oppressor, along with Pakistani forces", a spokesman for the group told the AFP news agency.

The attack was immediately condemned by India, which has a decades-old rivalry with Pakistan and is competing with China for influence in the region. There can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.

He added: "All three terrorists are killed".

To ensure the security of both Chinese officials and engineers involved in CPEC projects, the Pakistani military stood up a Special Security Division in 2016 comprising 15,000 troops.

China has said it "strongly condemns" Pakistan consulate attack.

There has always been resentment in Balochistan against Chinese investments in the province, particularly those that pertain to the development of the port of Gwadar.

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