For­eign min­is­ter condemns Karachi con­sulate ter­ror at­tack

At­tempts to sab­o­tage bi­lat­eral ties ‘will not suc­ceed’

Global Times - Weekend - - TOP NEWS - By Xie Went­ing Page Ed­i­tor: [email protected]­al­times.com.cn

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.”

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