Three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver were killed near the gate of a Confucius Institute at Karachi University, when a bomber detonated explosives next to their minibus
Karachi (AFP) – A Pakistan separatist group warned Wednesday of more deadly attacks on Chinese targets, a day after a woman suicide bomber killed four people — including three teachers posted from Beijing.
The Baloch Liberation Army — one of several groups fighting for independence in Pakistan’s biggest province — claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blast, saying it was the first time a woman had “self sacrificed” for the group.
Chinese nationals and interests have regularly been targeted by separatists in Balochistan, where Beijing is involved in lucrative mining and energy projects.
“Hundreds of highly trained male and female members of the Baloch Liberation Army’s Majeed Brigade are ready to carry out deadly attacks in any part of Balochistan and Pakistan,” spokesman Jeeyand Baloch said in a statement published in English.
He threatened Beijing with “even harsher” attacks unless the neighbouring country halted its “exploitation projects” and “occupying of the Pakistani state”.
Three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver were killed near the gate of the Confucius Institute at Karachi University, when the bomber detonated explosives next to their minibus.
A security official at the university told AFP he had previously raised concerns about the safety of 15 Chinese staff on the campus.
“Reports emerged in February that an attack might be carried out on campus,” the source, who asked not be named, told AFP.
The bomber was named as 30-year-old Shaari Baloch, a married mother of an eight-year-old girl and four-year-old boy, the BLA said, adding that she was a science teacher studying for a master’s degree.
Police confirmed the details.
Suicide attacks by women are very rare in Pakistan, reported only four times in recent years.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Pakistan to ensure the safety of all Chinese citizens and interests in the country and to launch a full investigation.
It also advised citizens to “take strict precautions, and do not go out unless necessary”.
China is upgrading energy links and infrastructure as part of a $54 billion programme known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, with both nations wary of security threats to the projects.
In April 2021 a suicide bomb attack at a luxury hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, killed four and wounded dozens.
The ambassador was unhurt in that attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan Taliban.
In July last year, a bus carrying engineers to a construction site near a dam in northwestern Pakistan was hit by a bomb, killing 13 people including nine Chinese workers.
The attack, which went unclaimed, frayed relations between Islamabad and Beijing, and Pakistan later paid millions in compensation to the families of the Chinese workers killed.
Karachi blast: Separatist group warns of more attacks on Chinese
A separatist group in Pakistan is warning of ‘even harsher’ attacks against Chinese interests in the country. This, after three Chinese language teachers from Confucius Institute and their Pakistani driver were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Karachi. The bomber, who is seen in a CCTV screen grab, is said to be a woman.
The first time the separatist Baloch Liberation Army has used one in an attack. The attack drew sharp responses from both the Chinese government and Pakistan’s prime minister Shebaz Sharif. Crucial to understanding the attack is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC, a €53 billion infrastructure project that passes through Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan. It was announced in 2015.
The main aim is to connect Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea to China’s western Xinjiang region. All of this itself is a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. For Pakistan, CPEC is a major component to boost national economic growth. The Baloch separatists accuse Islamabad of exploiting their region’s natural resources and call the Chinese activities an ‘imperialist project’.
Balochis see themselves as a separate ethnic group, forced to become a part of Pakistan when it was established as a country in 1947. Poor economic and social development has also sparked resentment. Those grievances have fueled a decades-long insurgency. The Pakistani military have a strong presence in the region, and are seen by many as occupiers. Activists accuse Pakistan’s security forces of torture, and forcibly disappearing thousands of Balochi people.