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Terror act on Chinese nationals condemned

Leaders of Pakistan express outrage and vow to hunt down perpetrators

By ZHAO JIA and WANG QINGYUN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-03-28 07:19

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets with Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong to offer his condolences at the Chinese embassy in Islamabad on Tuesday. NEWSCOM

People from all walks of life in Pakistan have strongly condemned the terrorist attack that killed five Chinese nationals and one Pakistani, saying the country will take all necessary measures to hunt down the perpetrators of the heinous act.

A suicide bomber on Tuesday rammed a vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers working on the Dasu Hydropower Project undertaken by a Chinese company in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired an emergency meeting with senior officials on Wednesday. Sharif pledged to utilize all national resources to conduct a thorough and joint investigation of the attack and assured the bereaved families that the perpetrators would be brought to justice swiftly. On the same day, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari visited the Chinese embassy in Islamabad to convey condolences over the lives lost.

The country's National Assembly said in a statement that China is a sincere and trusted friend of Pakistan and the attack on Chinese citizens is intolerable.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said such dastardly acts cannot dent the resolve of the Pakistani nation to fight against the scourge of terrorism.

"Today's attack was orchestrated by the enemies of Pakistan-China friendship," it said in a statement. "We will resolutely act against all such forces and defeat them."

Emphasizing that the life and safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan are of paramount importance, it said Pakistan will continue to work with their Chinese brothers to ensure the safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in the country.

On-site security forces are stepping up efforts to deal with the aftermath of the attack, General Syed Asim Munir, chief of army staff of Pakistan, said on Tuesday during a phone call with Beijing's envoy to Islamabad Jiang Zaidong.

Thorough probe

The Pakistani military will thoroughly investigate the attack and keep China informed of the progress of the investigation in a timely manner, Munir said.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi said the enemy has targeted citizens of a very reliable friend of Pakistan, and that the attack is not just on Chinese citizens but on Pakistan itself. The country is bound to strongly respond to the attack, he added.

Terrorists attempted to damage Pakistan-China relations through such an outrageous act, and Pakistan would never allow such incidents to occur, said Sarfraz Bugti, chief minister of the southwestern province of Balochistan.

Former Pakistani caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said Pakistan and China will jointly overcome the challenge and maintain a solid bond of bilateral friendship and cooperation.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, co-chair of the Pakistan People's Party and former foreign minister, said he believes plotters and accomplices of the attack will be severely punished.

In addition, local politicians, media and think tanks in Pakistan also strongly denounced the attack.

On Wednesday, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said terrorism is a common enemy of humanity, and it is a shared responsibility of the international community to fight terrorism and ensure such tragedies do not happen again.

"China firmly supports Pakistan's counterterrorism efforts and firmly safeguards the safety of Chinese citizens, institutions and projects abroad," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said at a news conference.

China and Pakistan are determined to and capable of making the terrorists pay for their actions, he said.

Noting that the two countries are all-weather strategic cooperative partners that enjoy "ironclad" friendship, Lin said any attempt to undermine bilateral cooperation will fail.

China will "firmly carry out cooperation in various fields with Pakistan to benefit people on both sides", he said.

Some countries have condemned the terrorist attack and extended their condolences to the Chinese victims, which China appreciates, he said.

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