Pakistan and China jointly investigating Dasu bus attack

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People wheel a gurney towards an ambulance outside a hospital in Dasu, after a bus with Chinese nationals on board plunged into a ravine in Upper Kohistan following a blast, Pakistan July 14, 2021 in this still image taken from video.
Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistani and Chinese security experts are jointly investigating the Dasu bus terror attack to trace the “hidden hands” behind the tragic incident.

A 15-member team of Chinese investigators have arrived in Pakistan to take part in the ongoing probe, which is in its final stages, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on Saturday. He shared the details in a press conference after a detailed phone conversation with Chinese Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi.

Pakistan has ramped up security for Chinese citizens following the attack. At least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, and four Pakistanis – two security personnel and two citizens – were killed and 28 were injured when a bus carrying them to an under-construction site of Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after an explosion on the early morning of July 14.

The interior minister said that the two countries shared an all-weather friendship that could not be affected by such incidents. “We assure the Chinese government that these culprits, hidden hands and enemies of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and China-Pakistan friendship will never be forgiven at any cost” the Pakistani interior minister vowed.

Pakistan government officials expressed heartfelt condolences over the loss of precious lives and guaranteed best possible medical care to Chinese nationals injured in the incident.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is personally supervising the development of the probe, has asked the foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit Beijing. In a phone conversation with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, Pakistani premier said that the country would spare no effort to fully investigate the Dasu bus tragedy. Khan said that the security of Chinese nationals, workers and projects in Pakistan was the top-most priority of his government.

“Pakistan and China have an iron-clad friendship which has withstood the vicissitudes of time” and “no hostile forces would be allowed to damage brotherly relations between Pakistan and China” PM Khan told his Chinese counterpart.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong and Wu Wei, head of China’s cross-departmental joint working group, also visited the injured Chinese nationals at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan initially blamed a mechanical failure for the blast but later Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said traces of explosives were detected and that “a terrorist attack cannot be ruled out”.

Rasheed claimed that the Dasu incident was planned days ahead of the Joint Coordination Committee of CPEC meeting, which has been reportedly postponed.

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