At least 10 people, including six Chinese nationals and two Pakistani soldiers, killed in blast targeting a bus in northern Pakistan.
At least 10 people, including at least six Chinese nationals and two Pakistani soldiers, have been killed in a blast targeting a bus in a remote region of northern Pakistan, multiple sources told Reuters news agency, adding that the toll could rise.
It was not immediately clear whether the blast on Wednesday was the result of a roadside device or something planted inside the bus.
Inspector General Moazzam Jah Ansari, the top police official of Khyber-Paktunkhwa, the province in which the incident occurred, confirmed the death of six Chinese nationals, two soldiers and two locals.
“The bus plunged into a deep ravine after the blast and caused heavy losses. One Chinese engineer and one soldier are missing. The rescue operation is launched and the entire government machinery has been mobilised to rescue the injured by air ambulance,” a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
A senior administrative officer of the Hazara region told Reuters the bus was carrying over 30 Chinese engineers to the site of the Dasu dam in Upper Kohistan.
China calls for probe
China has condemned the blast and asked Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the attack, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
Beijing asked Pakistan to protect the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing on Wednesday.
Ansari told Reuters that the Pakistani police were investigating. “Looks like sabotage,” he said as he departed on a helicopter for the site.
At least three other officials confirmed to Reuters that a blast hit the bus.
Another senior police official told Reuters the toll had already risen to 13 dead, including nine Chinese nationals and two soldiers.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65bn investment plan under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative that is aimed at connecting western China to the Gwadar sea port in southern Pakistan.
Chinese engineers along with Pakistani construction workers have been working on the Dasu hydroelectric project and several others for several years in the region where the blast took place.
Source: Al Jazeera