Blast heard near Chinese consulate in Karachi

Pakistani security forces stand outside the Chinese consulate in KarachiImage copyright

Image caption

Chinese workers and sites have frequently been targeted by militants

Two policemen have been killed and a security guard injured in an attack on the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Gunshots were heard at about 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT) outside the consulate in the upmarket Clifton area, police said.

Three attackers have been killed by police in an exchange of gunfire.

In another incident on Friday, at least 10 people were killed in an explosion in a tribal area of Pakistan.

The blast struck a marketplace at a town in north-west Orakzai, reports say. What was behind the explosion is not yet known.

What happened in Karachi?

Up to four gunmen tried to enter the consulate but were stopped by security guards at a checkpoint, reports said.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a blast, and local TV channels have broadcast images of a plume of smoke. There is a heavy police presence in the area which has been cordoned off.

All the staff inside the consulate are safe, local media reports said.

Image copyright

Image caption

Vehicles were left incinerated after the attack

A separatist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army, has said it carried out the attack. It is thought to be one of many separatist groups operating in the restive province, which has seen a long running nationalist insurgency.

“We have been seeing the Chinese as an oppressor, along with Pakistani forces,” a spokesman for the group told the AFP news agency.

Over the years construction projects and Chinese workers in Balochistan have been repeatedly targeted by militants.

What is China doing in Balochistan?

Balochistan is at the heart of an ambitious Chinese project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a string of huge investments by China in Pakistani infrastructure.

As China is such a close ally to Pakistan and has poured billions into the nation, this incident will deeply concern authorities who have described this investment as a “game changer”, says the BBC’s Secunder Kermani in Islamabad.

Balochistan itself is a sparsely populated region, rich in gas and coal reserves, as well as copper and gold.

Yet it has remained Pakistan’s most impoverished area and Baloch nationalists have long accused the central government of exploitation and denying the province its due rights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.