New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: At least 13 people, including 9 Chinese nationals and two Pakistani soldiers were killed after a huge blast sent a bus plunging into a ravine near a remote region in northwest Pakistan, news agency Reuters reported. The Pakistani authorities are investigating the nature of the blast. The dead and injured, including the Chinese engineers, were brought to the Regional Health Centre in Dasu, about 10 km (6 miles) from the site of the blast.

It was not known immediately whether the blast took place due to a roadside device or something was planted into the bus. While the Pakistani authorities said that they are investigating the nature of the blast, the Chinese authorities have said that their nationals had come under an attack.

In a statement issued shortly after the blast, the Chinese embassy said that "a certain project of a Chinese firm in Pakistan suffered an attack, which caused the deaths of Chinese nationals". The embassy further asked the Chinese firms to strengthen their security procedures and called for the swift arrest of the attackers.

Condemning the attack, China urged Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the bus blast and "severely punish" the perpetrators. It also urged the Pakistani authorities to earnestly protect the safety of Chinese nationals, organisations and projects in the country.

According to a report by news agency AFP, the bus was carrying Chinese engineers, surveyors and mechanical staff to the Dasu dam construction site in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. "The blast sparked a fire in the engine plunging the vehicle into a ravine", a local government official who did not want to be named said as quoted by AFP.

the Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion investment plan under Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative that is aimed at connecting western China to the Gwadar seaport in southern Pakistan. Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have been working on the Dasu hydroelectric project and several others for several years in the region where the blast took place.

 

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan