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China Joins Investigation into Deadly Pakistan Attack Targeting Chinese Nationals

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Pakistan’s fragile security situation has reared its head again, with Chinese nationals being targeted in a suicide attack. Five Chinese citizens lost their lives in the bombing on Tuesday, prompting a swift response from both China and Pakistan.

Chinese investigators arrived in Islamabad on Friday to assist with the probe. This attack marks the third major incident targeting Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week, raising concerns about the safety of Chinese personnel working on infrastructure projects in the country.

The attack comes amidst a backdrop of China’s significant investment in Pakistan, exceeding $65 billion, as part of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. This initiative aims to connect China with other countries through a vast network of infrastructure projects.

While the latest attack remains unclaimed, previous assaults in March targeted a strategic port and a naval airbase, both located in Balochistan. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a prominent separatist group, claimed responsibility for those attacks.

This incident is not the first to target the Dasu hydropower project, where the recent bombing occurred. Back in 2021, a bus blast claimed the lives of 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals.

Security concerns have led Chinese contractors to suspend work on three hydropower projects in the wake of the attack. Pakistani officials have assured that this is a standard protocol following such incidents.

Twin insurgencies plague Pakistan – one by Islamist militants and another by ethnic separatists in Balochistan who believe the government unfairly distributes the region’s natural resources. While the separatists primarily target Chinese interests in Balochistan, the recent attack occurred far from that area.

Pakistan has established a dedicated security force comprised of police and military personnel to safeguard Chinese activities. However, the recent string of attacks underscores the ongoing security challenges Pakistan faces. Therefore, the state of Pakistan needs to ensure security standards and neutralize the militants who are bent on hitting Pak-China interests. The relationship between Pakistan and China is vital for both countries, and militants should not be allowed to create rifts in the relations. 

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