Terrorism cannot be ruled out’: Pakistan minister on bus explosion that killed nine Chinese workers

Investigators have found traces of explosives at the scene of the bus explosion that killed nine Chinese construction workers in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, a Pakistani government minister said yesterday, adding that "Terrorism cannot be ruled out".

Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet that the Pakistani government was working "in close coordination" with the Chinese embassy and that "we are committed to fight menace of terrorism together".

The statement moves away from his government’s initial insistence that the blast, which also killed four Pakistani nationals and injured at least 28 other passengers, was caused by "a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas". 

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan called it an "attack" from the beginning, and urged Pakistan to strengthen security for Chinese citizens in the country.

The security of Chinese nationals building infrastructure in Pakistan is a sensitive issue, with China heavily involved in completing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Around 7am Wednesday, an explosion destroyed a shuttle bus laid on by China Gezhouba Group to take construction workers to the Dasu Hydropower project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

In a telephone call today, China’s Premier Li Keqiang asked Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to help the Chinese task force investigating the blast, to mobilise all efforts to discover what happened, and to bring those responsible to justice, Chinese broadcaster CGTN reported.

Top image ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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