(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times)
Multiple deaths have been reported in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar after a massive explosion targeted Chinese nationals, according to media reports. Police said two children were killed and three got injured in a suicide blast that took place at the East Bay Road in the port of Gwadar around 7 pm, reported news agency Reuters.
The Pakistan interior ministry said in a statement that a Chinese national got injured in the attack and was rushed to a nearby hospital. A spokesperson for the provincial government said the blast has claimed the lives of two children and injured three people, including the car’s driver. “Strongly condemn suicide attack on Chinese nationals Vehicle in #Gwadar. 2 children died who were playing nearby & one Chinese sustained minor injuries,” tweeted Liaquat Shahwani, the spokesperson for the Balochistan government.
Another report by The Balochistan Post, however, claimed that nine Chinese nationals have been killed in the blast. A convoy of Chinese engineers was reportedly targeted in the blast near the construction site of a road that is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Balochistan Liberation Army, a separatist militant organisation has claimed responsibility for the “self-sacrificing” attack on Chinese engineers. “BLA carried out a ‘self-sacrificing’ attack against a convoy of Chinese engineers,” the group said in a statement.
The explosion has been reported around a month after a bus carrying workers was attacked in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province that resulted in the death of nine Chinese nationals and four more people. Pakistan had initially claimed that the incident was caused by a mechanical failure leading to a gas leak. But the Chinese side said the bus was hit by a blast.