A Chinese worker and his driver were wounded in Karachi on Monday in a bomb attack claimed by ethnic nationalists opposed to plans for extensive Chinese investment, police said.
The 25-year-old Chinese man, identified as Finche, and his driver were slightly wounded in the attack, said Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja.
“Apparently, the attack was aimed at the Chinese national,” Khawaja said, adding the man was travelling with his driver and a security guard. A low-intensity bomb went off by the road in Gulshan-e-Hadeed, shattering the windows of the van the men were travelling in.
Television footage showed construction helmets in a rear seat.
Malir SSP Rao Anwar claimed a suspect had been detained and investigations were underway.
A pamphlet signed by a group called the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army, an ethnic Sindhi separatist group, was found at the site, police said.
The pamphlet read [Translation]: “We consider China, rising as a global power, to be an ally of Pakistan, and also consider it an accomplice of the Punjabi Establishment in making Sindh slave to loot its resources, and therefore we accept the responsibility of bomb attack on Chinese in Gulshan-i-Hadeed.”
“We want to make it clear to China that we will oppose every anti-Sindh project including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” it further said.
Police cordoned off the area and collected evidence from the scene for investigation. Five hundred grams of explosives were used in the improvised explosive device (IED), which included nuts and bolts.
Witnesses from a truck nearby reported seeing a suspicious item in the green belt of the road, which exploded as the black vehicle carrying the Chinese engineer passed by.
According to DIG East Zone Dr Kamran Fazal, the roadside bomb was planted opposite Quaid-i-Azam Park along National Highway.
Gulshan-i-Hadeed is a neighbourhood in Karachi’s Bin Qasim Town. The town is situated near Pakistan Steel Mills and houses its workers.
Hundreds of Chinese workers are currently working all over Pakistan on various development projects, including the CPEC and the Thar coal power project.
In Aug 2015, the Sindh police claimed to have chalked out a comprehensive security plan for Chinese nationals and professionals visiting Karachi and other parts of the province for CPEC-related projects. Nearly six months ago, for 111 Chinese projects, the Sindh police were ensuring security to more than 1,500 nationals of the neighbouring country.
The main responsibility for securing the corridor, vital to Pakistan’s long-term prosperity, lies with a new army division established in the last few months and numbering an estimated 13,000 troops.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Inspector General (IG) Sindh AD Khawaja took notice of the incident and called for an investigation.
In November last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured that the government will provide full security to Chinese workers in Pakistan.
“China is a close friend to Pakistan besides being a strategic partner and the government will provide full security to the Chinese workers in Pakistan,” PM had said while chairing a review meeting in Islamabad to monitor progress on projects related to CPEC.
China had earlier called for better security provision for its workers engaged in the CPEC, a multi-billion dollars project aimed at starting new economic opportunities in the South Asian region.
Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong during a meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Islamabad on October 14 had demanded the provision of fool-proof security to all Chinese workers associated with the CPEC.