KARACHI, Pakistan – Pakistani security forces stopped an attempted terrorist attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi on Friday morning, officials said after an extended gun battle outside a security checkpoint.
Officials said that all three attackers were killed, and that two police officers were dead. On the street, the police checkpoint could be seen pocked with bullet marks.
“They tried to enter the visa section but did not succeed,” said Karachi’s police chief, Amir Shaikh.
Police officials said that at least one Suicide vest had been recovered, and bomb squad members were on the scene to dispose of the explosives. One wounded police officer was taken to a hospital near the site of the attack.
In a video sent to an Indian news service in March, Aslam Baloch, a senior BLA commander, accused China and Pakistan of plundering resources in Baluchistan, which his group wants to turn into an independent state.
The group claimed responsibility for an attack in August on a bus carrying Chinese mining workers in southwestern Pakistan near the country’s borders with Afghanistan and Iran.
A deepwater port in the Baluchistan town of Gwadar, which is operated by a Chinese state-backed company, is part of China’s international development program, the Belt and Road Initiative.
Amir Jan, a driver who was washing his car near the consulate, said he saw three men with Kalashnikov assault rifles moving toward the consulate around 9:15 am
The China News Service, a government-run news agency, said that the consul general, Wang Yu, and all other Chinese staff members were safe.
The neighborhood, near the Arabian Sea, is mostly residential and upscale, including many homes and restaurants. The gunfire could be heard from several miles away, and witnesses on social media posted photos of smoke rising into the air. Schools in the area were placed on lockdown.
Pakistan has shrunk its economic ties with China in recent years, with Beijing recently giving Pakistan a $ 2 billion loan to help shore up its finances, money that followed $ 1 billion that was given by Chinese banks in April.
China has called Pakistan a showcase for its Belt and Road Initiative and is estimated to have spent some $ 62 billion in those projects there, mostly in Baluchistan.
But China has also come under increasing criticism in Pakistan, including its treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.
“A big international conspiracy has been foiled by prompt security action, “Faisal Vawda, a federal minister, told reporters in Karachi. “This was an attempt to sabotage our relations with China.”