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Chinese PM Li Keqiang asks Imran Khan to bring to justice those behind ‘terror attack’

China’s Premier Li Keqiang with his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Underlining China’s growing concern over Wednesday’s bus blast in Pakistan that killed 9 Chinese workers, Premier and second-ranked leader Li Keqiang on Friday called on his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan to ensure those behind the attack were brought to justice.

Mr. Li in a phone call said “China hopes Pakistan can provide assistance and use all necessary means to investigate the attack and bring the terrorists involved to justice,” the Communist Party-run Global Times reported, adding that the Premier Li “urged Pakistan to take effective measures to enhance the protection of Chinese personnel and organisations in Pakistan to avoid similar incidents.”

He also “stressed the Chinese government pays high attention to the security of Chinese citizens and organizations overseas.”

Pakistani officials had initially described the incident that claimed the lives of 9 Chinese nationals, who were working at the Dasu hydropower project, part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, and 4 Pakistanis as an accident, before subsequently saying traces of explosives had been detected.

China said it had dispatched a work team which had arrived in Pakistan and would “coordinate” with local authorities as investigations progress.

The Global Times said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had invited Mr. Li for the phone call and “expressed his sincere condolences to the Chinese government” and “reported the progress of the current investigation and follow-up work.”

Mr. Li “thanked Pakistan for the immediate rescue and investigation after the blast,” the report said.

Chinese experts have speculated that the Pakistani Taliban or Balochistan outfits were likely behind the attack. Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times “Balochistan terrorists and the Pakistani Taliban were possible sponsors”.

He said the group “in recent years targeted Chinese projects in the country, and launched attacks on Chinese tourists, as well as businesspeople, as they know that Pakistan attaches great importance to China-Pakistan ties, and they aim to use such attacks to sabotage bilateral relations.”


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 11:59:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/chinese-pm-li-keqiang-asks-imran-khan-to-bring-to-justice-those-behind-terror-attack/article35366610.ece

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