Did Chinese Embassy summon Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif after five of its nationals killed in suicide attack? – India TV

Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif with Ambassador Jiang Zaidong
Image Source : INSTAGRAM.COM/GOVTOFPAKISTAN Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif with Ambassador Jiang Zaidong

Islamabad: Hours after five Chinese nationals were killed in a suicide bombing in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region on Tuesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif rushed to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad in an apparent attempt to mellow down tensions. The move was widely seen as a course to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to announce any abrupt plan that could hamper the already debt-ridden nation. 

According to the reports published in Pakistani media, PM Shehbaz assured Beijing to “conduct a high-level and early investigation of the incident and punish the perpetrators and facilitators.”

China seeks ‘thorough investigation’ 

The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office came minutes after Shehbaz left the Chinese embassy where he met Ambassador Jiang Zaidong following. The media report also claimed that his visit might be announced after Beijing exhibited despair over the incident where the top Chinese politburo had conveyed “strong” words over the attack.

The major embarrassment for Pakistan came as a suicide bombing killed five Chinese nationals working on a dam project in the South Asian country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.  A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers that was on its way from Islamabad to a camp in Dasu, the site of a major dam project, Bakht Zahir.

“The Chinese embassy and consulates in Pakistan have immediately launched emergency work, demanding that the Pakistani side conduct a thorough investigation into the attack, severely punish the perpetrators, and take practical and effective measures to protect the safety of Chinese citizens,” Beijing’s embassy in Islamabad said.

In response, Sharif’s Office released another statement saying: “The sympathies of the entire nation, including myself, are with the families of the Chinese citizens.”

Why did Pakistan PM visit the Chinese embassy in a hurry?

The ramifications could be understood by the fact that Pakistan Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, who accompanied Sharif, described the incident as an “attack on Pakistan itself.” As of writing this article, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, which is the third major attack in Pakistan in a week.

It is worth mentioning attacks on Chinese nations are quite prevalent in Pakistan. The attacks soared tremendously ever since Beijing launched multiple infrastructural projects in various regions of Pakistan, especially the mineral-rich Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan region.

Earlier in 2023, Chinese engineers were attacked while their vehicles moving in a convoy in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Although local media reports claimed several Chinese nationals were killed, later the police officials said they were only injured. The contradictory statement could be apprehended as a method to conceal the precise data amid the fact that Chinese nationals were subject to torture in the Balochistan region despite it running a multi-billion CPEC project in Pakistan, undermining the local issues.

According to the report published in local media, the attack is being widely seen as an attempt to undermine a relationship on which Islamabad’s financial survival largely depends as Beijing is investing over $65 billion in energy, infrastructure and other projects in Pakistan as part of the CPEC under its wider Belt and Road initiative. Hundreds of Chinese engineers and technicians work on the projects, many of which are based in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southwest Balochistan provinces, reported Arab News.

Also Read: Pakistan: 5 Chinese nationals among 6 killed in suicide bomb attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla

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