Pakistan separatists warn of attacks on Chinese projects

A Pakistan separatist group has warned of more attacks on Chinese targets following a suicide bomb that killed three Chinese teachers and a local driver in the port city of Karachi.

The attack, carried out near the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute on Tuesday, was claimed by the Baloch Liberation Army.

On Wednesday, the group issued a statement saying it planned “even harsher” attacks unless China halted “exploitation projects” and its “occupation of the Pakistani state”, the AFP news agency reports.

The bomber in the Karachi attack was identified as 30-year-old Shaari Baloch, a married mother of two who had been studying for a master’s degree at the university.

Pakistan is a major recipient of China’s Belt and Road funding, aimed principally at the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a suite of infrastructure schemes with an estimated value of $62bn.

The corridor depends on access to Balochistan and in particular the newly built deepwater port of Gwadar. In August last year, two children were killed and three wounded in an attack targeting Chinese nationals in the port.

China has fallen foul of a long-running insurgency in the province, carried out by groups seeking a greater share of their province’s natural resources. In the past, attacks have been launched on natural gas projects, infrastructure and the Pakistani security forces.

However, the whole of the corridor has been subjected to attacks in the past few years. In April 2021, the Taliban claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attack at a hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. That incident left four dead and dozens wounded.

And the following July, a bus carrying engineers to a construction site near a dam in northwest Pakistan was hit by a bomb, killing 13 people including nine Chinese workers (see further reading). Pakistan later paid millions in compensation to the families of the Chinese workers killed.

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