Pakistan suicide bombing: Four killed, several injured in Karachi blast

A separatist group has claimed responsibility for the attack



Police adjusts crime scene barricade tape at the blast site. Photo: AFP
Police adjusts crime scene barricade tape at the blast site. Photo: AFP

By Agencies

Published: Tue 26 Apr 2022, 2:48 PM

Last updated: Wed 27 Apr 2022, 11:11 AM

A suspected female suicide bomber killed three Chinese teachers in Karachi on Tuesday, police and officials said, in the first major attack this year against nationals of long-time ally China working in Pakistan.

The three were among passengers on a minibus returning to Karachi university after a lunch break when the bomb exploded at the entrance to the university’s Confucius Institute, killing the Chinese and a Pakistani national, police and a university employee said.

A separatist group, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) based in southwestern Balochistan province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, claimed responsibility for the blast, adding in an email to Reuters the attack was carried out by a woman suicide bomber.

Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi told reporters the blast killed three foreigners and a local. “The reports we have got is that they’re Chinese,” he said, adding the Chinese were teachers at the Confucius Institute, a Chinese language and cultural centre.

A local guard and another Chinese were also wounded in the minibus.

Local media showed a CCTV footage of a black-dressed woman wearing a backpack standing close to the bus shortly before the bomb went off and sent up billowing clouds of fire and smoke.

Police did not verify the footage.

Local media showed the wrecked minibus dotted with shrapnel holes, and witnesses said the explosion was so big that it rattled the windowpanes of other buildings on the sprawling campus.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The bombing was the first major attack against Chinese nationals in Pakistan since July last year when a suicide bomber blew up a passenger bus in northern Pakistan that killed 13 people, including nine Chinese working on a hydro-power plant.

Other attacks on Chinese working in Pakistan have taken place in Balochistan province, where separatist militants have waged an insurgency against authorities for decades.

Balochistan houses a deep-water port in Gawadar city which Beijing is developing under the China Pakistan Economic-Corridor (CPEC) project as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative to seek trade linkages with rest of the world.

Major challenge

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The incident poses a major challenge to Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who took power this month. He condemned what he called a cowardly act of terrorism.

“I am deeply grieved on the loss of precious lives including of our Chinese friends in the heinous attack in Karachi today,” Sharif said in a statement.

He later visited the Chinese embassy in Islamabad, promising a speedy investigation to ensure the culprits were put on trial.

A university spokesman told Reuters the dead included the Chinese director of the Confucius Institute and other faculty members of the institute.

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The Confucius Institutes, set up in universities across the world to teach Chinese language and culture, have several centres across Pakistan.

Pakistan’s foreign office condemned what it called a cowardly incident, describing it as a direct attack on the friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and China.

The Baloch separatist guerrillas, who say they are fighting for a greater share in regional resources of mines and minerals, usually attack gas projects, infrastructure and the security forces.

They also attack Chinese projects and workers despite Pakistani assurances that it is doing everything it can to protect the projects.

Islamabad blames arch-rival neighbouring India for backing the insurgents, a charge New Delhi denies.


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