Pakistan arrests 12 suspects in attack on Chinese nationals in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

suicide attack in khyber pakhtunkhwa
Suicide attack hit vehicle in Besham, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Photo: X)

Pakistan’s counter-terrorism police have conducted multiple raids resulting in the arrest of at least 12 suspects in connection with a recent suicide attack case that claimed the lives of five Chinese workers and their Pakistani driver in the Shangla area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The detainees, though not directly involved in the attack, are believed to have provided assistance to the perpetrators, according to officials.

Last week’s incident unfolded when a suicide bomber, driving an explosives-laden vehicle, targeted a convoy of Chinese engineers en route from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The attack highlighted the ongoing security challenges faced by Chinese nationals working on various projects and incompetence of Pakistan.

Afghan link in the attack

Authorities disclosed that some of the detained individuals had ties to Pakistani militant groups and were actively involved in transporting the explosive-laden vehicle used in the attack to Shangla district. The arrests were made based on intelligence gathered, including information extracted from a SIM card recovered from the suicide bomber.

While the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has denied involvement in the attack, Pakistan’s investigation hints towards the involvement of TTP and the attack being orchestrated from the Afghan soil. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has sought to defuse tensions by swiftly reaching out to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad and ordering a joint investigation into the matter.

In response to the attack, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad has urged Pakistan to conduct a thorough investigation, punish the perpetrators, and enhance security measures to safeguard Chinese citizens working in the country. The bodies of the deceased Chinese personnel were repatriated to Wuhan aboard a special Pakistani military plane on Monday.

Amid escalating security concerns, Beijing has announced plans to bolster security measures to protect its workers involved in CPEC projects. The attack underscores the complex security landscape in Pakistan and the challenges faced by both Pakistani and foreign nationals operating in the region.

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