A bus explosion in northwestern Pakistan today killed 12 people, nine of them Chinese nationals, in what Beijing called a bomb attack. Pakistan said the explosion was caused by “gas leakage” due to a mechanical problem.
The bus was carrying about 40 Chinese engineers, surveyors and mechanics to a dam site at a hydroelectric plant in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Islamabad is Beijing’s closest regional ally, but the personal safety of Chinese workers in Pakistan has long been a concern for Beijing. A large number of Chinese staff are stationed there to oversee and construct infrastructure designs.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying the bus “fell down the valley after a mechanical failure, causing an explosion caused by a gas leak.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed shock and condemnation of the bomb attack that killed and injured Chinese personnel.
He called on “the Pakistani side to thoroughly investigate the truth as soon as possible, to apprehend the culprits and punish them severely, and to effectively protect the safety of Chinese personnel and special cases in Pakistan.”