Homegrown Terrorists Claim Chinese Consulate Bombing in Pakistan

Pakistani security personnel stand next to burned out vehicles in front of the Chinese consulate after an attack in Karachi on November 23, 2018. - At least two policemen were killed when unidentified gunmen stormed the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi on November 23, officials said. …
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images

A terrorist attack Friday against the Chinese consulate in Pakistan’s Karachi region reportedly killed two policemen, two civilians, and the three attackers.

The incident occurred adjacent to volatile Balochistan province and was claimed by an outlawed Baloch group engaged in a simmering separatist insurgency opposed to Beijing’s investments on Pakistani soil.

Via Twitter, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said:

The failed attack against the Chinese Consulate was clearly a reaction to the unprecedented trade agreements that resulted from our trip to China. The attack was intended to scare Chinese investors and undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC]. These terrorists will not succeed:

Pakistan’s Dawn reports that security forces thwarted the attack after they engaged the terrorists in a firefight in response to the BLA fighters opening fire before detonating a hand grenade.

Dawn reveals:

Two policemen lost their lives due to multiple injuries caused by explosive material, while a private security guard was injured in the blast, Dr Seemin Jamali, JPMC Executive Director, told Dawn

Two civilians, a father and son, named Zahir Shah and Abdul Karim, were also killed in the attack, Dr Jamali said.Three terrorists were killed in the operation by security forces, according to Sindh Police and the army’s media wing.

Members of the outlawed Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), who claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack, have targeted CPEC projects before. In assuming blame for the attack Friday, the BLA said it was fighting “Chinese occupation.”

The Associated Press (AP) reports:

The brazen assault, claimed by a militant group from the southwestern province of Baluchistan, reflected the separatists’ attempt to strike at the heart of Pakistan’s close ties with major ally China, which has invested heavily into road and transportation projects in the country, including in Baluchistan.

All the Chinese diplomats and staff at the consulate were safe and were not harmed during the attack or the shootout, senior police official Ameer Ahmad Sheikh said.

Following the attack, China asked Pakistan to beef up security at the mission. In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China would not waver in its latest major project in Pakistan — the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor — and expressed confidence that Pakistan could ensure security.

Pakistani Imran Khan condemned the Chinese consulate attack and a separate one Friday in the Kalaya Bazar area of lower Orakzai tribal district, saying on Twitter, “Both these attacks are part of a planned campaign to create unrest in the country by those who do not want Pakistan to prosper.”

“Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind: we will crush the terrorists, whatever it takes,” he declared:

AP reveals:

Elsewhere in Pakistan on Friday, a powerful bomb at an open-air food market in the Orakzai region of the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan, killed 25 people and wounded dozens of others, said police official Tahir Ali.

Most of the victims in the attack in the town of Klaya were minority Shiite Muslims. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Orakzai has been the scene of several militant attacks in recent years, mostly by Pakistani Sunni militants, who revile Shiites as apostates.

China’s top ally, Pakistan, has long accused BLA of being a terrorist proxy of its regional rival India, claiming the separatist group receives military aid through New Delhi envoys in neighboring Afghanistan, an accusation that India denies.

Since 2004, the BLA has targeted Chinese projects in and around Pakistan’s largest province Balochistan. More recently, the group has targeted Bejing’s investments associated with the multi-billion dollar CPEC, which is a smaller part of China’s sprawling Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

CPEC is expected to run through Pakistan’s Balochistan province where various jihadist organizations – including the Islamic State (ISIS), the Taliban, and al-Qaeda – are known to operate.

In Sindh, located adjacent to Balochistan, China has invested billions to build the Gwadar port and roads.

Karachi, home to the Chinese consulate attacked by the alleged BLA terrorists on Friday, is the capital of Pakistan’s Sindh province.

At the end of 2017, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad, in an unusual security warning, cautioned its nationals in Pakistan that “terrorists” are planning to target them in a “series of attacks” soon.

“It is understood that terrorists plan in the near term to launch a series of attacks against Chinese organizations and personnel in Pakistan,” the Chinese embassy in Pakistan said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The embassy cautioned all “Chinese-invested organizations and Chinese citizens to increase security awareness, strengthen internal precautions, reduce trips outside as much as possible, and avoid crowded public spaces.”

BLA recently took responsibility for killing five men on October 31 working for a construction company building 70 CPEC-linked housing developments.

Furthermore, the BLA in conjunction with another separatist group, the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF), killed two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers on October 26.

The previous month, seven terrorist attacks took place in Balochistan.

In August, the BLA terrorists claimed credit for a suicide bombing attack on a bus transporting Chinese workers, wounding three.

In May 2017, suspected BLA fighters killed at least 13 people within a week who were working on projects affiliated with CPEC.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, is part of an ancient region that also covers parts of war-ravaged Afghanistan and state-sponsor of terror Iran.

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