Foreign minister condemns Karachi consulate terror attack
Attempts to sabotage bilateral ties ‘will not succeed’
China on Friday said all Chinese staff and their relatives at the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi are safe, following a terrorist attack in the morning.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi strongly condemned the terrorist attack in which two Pakistani security guards died.
In an emergency call with Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday afternoon, Wang said Qureshi’s emergency notification of the incident showed the “unbreakable friendship and mutual trust of the two countries,” and he praised the swift and decisive action that Pakistani police took to ensure the safety of staff working at the consulate.
Wang also extended deep condolences to the families of the two security guards who were killed.
The call was made after the attack in the morning during which three gunmen tried to storm China’s consulate in Karachi.
They threw hand grenades and opened fire on security staff. As well as the two guards, two civilians and three terrorists were killed in the attack, police said.
Separatist militant group the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported.
The BLA is based in the state of Balochistan, a key area for the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a trade route which stretches for 3,115 kilometers from Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to southwest Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.
Balochistan has been plagued by terrorism for a long time.
The BLA became active in 2000 and gained notoriety after claiming responsibility for a series of bombings that targeted soldiers and police in Pakistan.
Qureshi said in the phone call that Pakistan will protect the safety of Chinese people as they do to protect its own citizens.
He said the country will conduct a thorough investigation and take all necessary measures to eliminate terrorist forces.
Wang said that any attempts to sabotage the China-Pakistan friendship will not succeed, and said he believes Pakistan has the ability to guarantee internal stability.
The office of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a statement sent to the Global Times by the Embassy of Pakistan in China on Friday that Khan is ordering a complete inquiry.
“The incident is part of a conspiracy against Pakistan and China’s economic and strategic cooperation. All attempts to sabotage [the] CPEC will be defeated. However, such incidents will never be able to undermine the Pakistan-China relationship that is mightier than the Himalayas and deeper than the Arabian Sea,” the statement said.
Geng Shuang, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said during Friday’s regular press briefing that “We also believe that Pakistan will continue to take effective measures to ensure the safety and smooth development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”
This is not the first time the group has targeted Chinese people. In August, the BLA made a suicide bomb attack on a bus full of Chinese workers in Balochistan, which wounded five people, CNBC reported.
Zhao Gancheng, director of the South Asia Studies Department at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times the terrorist attack on China’s consulate, a diplomatic symbol, showed the situation is worsening.
“The Pakistani government needs to make greater efforts to prevent the spread of terrorism. For instance, Pakistani intelligence forces should do more to find the forces behind it,” he said.
Zhao said the CPEC is for the benefit of people in Pakistan. But during the initial phases, some groups may feel they are not being equally treated and have turned their dissatisfaction toward China.
“But just how the benefits [of the CPEC] are distributed is an internal matter for Pakistan, and China can’t interfere,” he noted.
Despite some extremists’ disapproval of the CPEC, Zamir Ahmed Awan, a Pakistani and non-resident fellow of Beijing-based think tank the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times that “CPEC is the decision of the 220 million people of Pakistan. CPEC is an essential element of Pakistan’s national strategy. We are committed to CPEC and believe [that] CPEC is the only way forward for Pakistan.”