Remains of 9 Chinese nationals killed in Pak bus explosion returned to China

Published on Jul 24, 2021 11:30 AM IST

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Chinese foreign ministry urged Islamabad to “seriously” investigate the incident and “earnestly” protect the safety of Chinese personnel working in Pakistan on various projects

Rescue workers and onlookers gather around a wreck after a bus plunged into a ravine following a bomb explosion, which killed several passengers including nine Chinese nationals, in Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on July 14, 2021. (AFP)
Rescue workers and onlookers gather around a wreck after a bus plunged into a ravine following a bomb explosion, which killed several passengers including nine Chinese nationals, in Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on July 14, 2021. (AFP)
BySutirtho Patranobis

Remains of the nine Chinese nationals killed in a bus explosion in Pakistan were returned to China on a chartered flight on Friday, official media said, hours after top Pakistani officials landed here for talks likely linked to the aftermath of the episode.

In a statement issued early on Saturday and quoted by news agency Xinhua, the Chinese foreign ministry urged Islamabad to “seriously” investigate the incident and “earnestly” protect the safety of Chinese personnel working in Pakistan on various projects.

Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and ISI chief Faiz Hameed were already in China on Friday to hold talks with Chinese officials.

Qureshi is here to officially participate in the third China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

There was no official confirmation of Hameed’s arrival, though Pakistani media reports said he was also in China for relevant talks.

The talks are likely taking place in the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

On the remains of the Chinese nationals being returned to China, the foreign ministry said, “Bodies of nine Chinese personnel killed in a Pakistan terrorist attack returned to the motherland on a chartered plane on Friday.”

The statement quoted by Xinhua added, “China will continue to ask and support Pakistan to take any necessary measure to seriously, responsibly and accurately find out the truth, bring the perpetrators to justice, spare no effort to treat the injured, and earnestly protect the safety of Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in Pakistan to prevent similar incidents from happening again.”

Nine Chinese and four Pakistanis were killed in a shuttle bus blast on July 14 in Kohistan region of Pakistan, Chinese state media reported, adding that the blast was confirmed to be a terror attack on July 16.

When asked about the investigation, spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday, “China and Pakistan are still conducting investigation into the terrorist attack. I have nothing to add for the moment.”

“The visit of high-ranking Pakistani officials holds significance after a tragic incident in Upper Kohistan. Nine Chinese nationals working on the Dasu hydropower project were killed when a bus transporting them to the construction site met with an accident,” Pakistan’s Geo News said in a report on Friday.

Islamabad has blamed hostile forces behind the bus explosion, which according to them, was carried out to create misunderstandings between Pakistan and China, the Geo News report claimed.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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