Labourers attacked by grenade at China-Pakistan corridor port

Twenty-six labourers were wounded in a grenade attack in the Pakistani port of Gwadar last week, raising fresh concern about security for the $62bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Unidentified men on motorcycles threw a grenade into a labourers’ hostel in the port city on October 19, wounding 26 of them, police told Reuters.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which was one of three on that day in the gas-rich southwestern province of Balochistan.

Gwadar is the Arabian Sea terminus of CPEC, an ambitious, China-funded corridor of energy and transport projects linking western China with the Middle East and Europe under its One Belt, One Road strategy.

The men "were having dinner at the hostel when motorcyclists attacked them with a grenade", police official Imam Bakhsh told Reuters.

Separatist and Islamist violence is a constant threat in restive Balochistan.

Last year Pakistani army officials sought to reassure China that thousands of Chinese workers and engineers building CPEC will be kept safe. A special force of 15,000 troops, in nine battalions, has been assembled to guard infrastructure projects.

Security officials have said that militants trying to disrupt construction of the Chinese economic corridor through Pakistan have killed more than 50 Pakistani workers since 2014, said Reuters.

Also on the same day, a grenade attack at a food court in the town of Mastung, 55km from the provincial capital of Quetta, wounded 15 people, and gunmen on a motorcycle shot at paramilitary soldiers, killing one and wounding four in the west of the province.

The estimated total investment value of CPEC rose this year from $55bn to $62bn.

Image: Gwadar Port, Balochistan, is the Arabian Sea terminus of the $62bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project (Madihasalam/Wikimedia Commons)

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