Chinese investigators visit Pakistan bus explosion site

People drive a stretcher to an ambulance outside a hospital in Dasu, after a bus with Chinese nationals on board plunged into a ravine in Upper Kohistan following an explosion, in Pakistan on the 14th. July 2021 in this still image from a video. REUTERS / Reuters TV / File Photo

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, July 17 (Reuters) – Chinese investigators, along with Pakistani counterparts, visited the site of a bus explosion on Saturday in which 13 people, including nine Chinese workers, were killed earlier this week , said several sources.

The explosion in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday sent the bus down a ravine. Pakistan initially blamed a mechanical failure, but later said traces of explosives were found and terrorism could not be ruled out. Read more

Chinese investigators were to spend up to four hours at the site studying it closely, a senior Pakistani administration official told Reuters, asking to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Two other senior government officials confirmed the visit. Pakistan’s foreign ministry and its military’s public relations wing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Beijing initially called it a bomb attack, but withdrew from the claim after Pakistan said it was an accident. Beijing later announced that it would send a team to help investigate the matter jointly with Pakistan.

Chinese authorities have expressed concern over this incident.

A Chinese tabloid run by the official People’s Daily of the ruling Communist Party called it the most serious attack on Chinese nationals in recent years.

China is a close ally and a major investor in Pakistan, and various activists opposed to the Pakistani government have in the past attacked Chinese projects and citizens.

Chinese Premier Li urged his Pakistani counterpart to hold those responsible for what he called a “terrorist attack” to account. Read more

“The Chinese took it very seriously and sent a large contingent of qualified investigators to find out the nature of the explosion and reach the culprits,” a government official monitoring the situation closely told Reuters.

He said the police, the counterterrorism department and the Pakistani military were collectively involved in the investigation.

Chinese workers killed on the bus were working for the Dasu hydropower project, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $ 65 billion investment plan to link western China to the southern port Pakistani man from Gwadar.

The CPEC is part of Beijing’s huge Belt and Road initiative.

Written by Gibran Peshimam Edited by Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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