Armed separatists stormed the Chinese consulate in Pakistani's southern port city of Karachi on Friday, triggering an intense hour shootout…
Armed separatists stormed the Chinese consulate in Pakistani’s southern port city of Karachi on Friday, triggering an intense hour shootout during which two Pakistani civilians, two police officers and all three attackers were killed, including one who had a suicide bomb
The brutal assault, demanded by a militant group from the southwestern province of Baluchistan, reflected the separatists’ attempt to fight in the heart of Pakistan’s close ties with the Great Allied China, which invested heavily in roads and transport projects in the country, including in Baluchistan.
The Baluch Liberation Army said it fought for “Chinese occupation” and released pictures of the three attackers.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated that China would not wait in its last major Pakistan-China-Pakistan economic corridor ̵
1; and expressed confidence that Pakistan could secure security. China still asked Pakistan to set up security at the mission.
The authorities said that killing civilians was a father and a son who retrieved his visa for China. Consulate diplomats and staff were unhappy and evacuated to a safe place, said senior police officer Ameer Ahmad Sheikh. A spokesman at Jinnah Hospital said a consulate officer was injured and treated there.
The attack began shortly after 9 in the morning when the consulate was open to business. The militants fired the consulate guards and threw grenades, broke the main gate and entered the building, said Mohammad Ashfaq, a local police chief.
Pakistani security forces surrounded the area immediately. Local TV stations broadcast images showing that the smoke rises from the building, which also serves as a residence for Chinese diplomats and other staff.
Several blasts were heard shortly after, but Sheikh could not say what they were. The protection lasted for about an hour.
“Because of a prompt response from the guards and the police, the terrorists could not” reach the diplomats, “Sheikh said after the end of the match. “We have completed the operation.”
He added that the authorities would try to identify the attackers by fingerprints.
Geng, the Chinese spokesman, said the attackers did not enter the consulate itself and that the exchange of fire took place outside the building. The deviation with the Pakistani officials reports could not be immediately reconciled.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi by telephone and assured him that a “thorough investigation will be conducted to arrest the perpetrators of his financiers, planners and facilitators” linked to the attack on the consulate, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry . It cited Yi as the attack was an attempt to affect Pakistan China relations and to harm the economic covenant of the two countries.
Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and praised the Karachi police and the paramilitary ranks for their courage. He ordered a survey and promised that such incidents could never undermine relations with China, which is “mightier than the Himalayas and deeper than the Arabian Sea.”
So far this year, the Baluch Liberation Army has considered responsibility for 12 attacks against security personnel who monitor projects linked to the Chinese Pakistani economic corridor and its infrastructure. In a letter dated Aug 15, the group released a letter warning China against “exploiting Baluchistan’s mineral wealth and occupation of Baluch territory”. The letter was addressed to China’s ambassador to Pakistan.
Amir Rana, Executive Director of the Independent Pakistani Institute for Peace Studies, said he did not believe that Friday’s attack would have a major impact on Chinese projects in Pakistan, as both countries have calculated the security risks.
“These threats were already on Pakistan and China’s hot radar,” says Rana.
Still, the attack will force China to strengthen Pakistan’s security and increase cooperation with local authorities, “said Zhao Gancheng of the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Studies.
“As more Chinese go abroad and more and more Chinese investment goes abroad, the security situation in the countries of destination has become a very important element for consideration,” Zhao told The Associated Press.
Baluchistans separatists have for years struggled with a low-level insurgency in Pakistan, which requires a greater proportion of the province’s wealth and natural resources. Karachi, the capital of Sindh Province, borders Baluchistan and is home to several militant groups, including Baluch’s separatists.
In a rare statement about attacks in Pakistan, neighboring India condemned the attack on the Chinese consulate and said that “there can be no justification for any act of terrorism.”
New Delhi also said that “the perpetrators of this glorious attack should be brought to justice. “
Pakistan has long accused India of supporting Baluch’s separatists. The two countries have a history of bitter relationships and have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Kashmir region since independence from Britain in 1947.
Elsewhere in Pakistan on Friday a powerful bomb in an outdoor market in a province bordering Afghanistan killed 35 people and injured dozens, police officer Tahir Ali said.
Most of the victims of the attack in the city of Klaya in the province of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa were minority Muslims. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Orakzai has been the scene of several militant attacks in recent years, mostly by Pakistani Sunni militants, who claim Shiites as apostates.