A Pakistani minister has said that authorities involved in investigating a bus blast on Wednesday which killed 13 people, including nine Chinese workers, have detected traces of explosive material.
In a tweet on Thursday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry wrote that Prime Minister Imran Khan was now personally overseeing the investigation into the deadly explosion.
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Initial investigations into Dassu incident have now confirmed traces of explosives,Terrorism cannot be ruled out,PM is personally supervising all developments,in this regard Govt is in close coordination with Chinese embassy we are committed to fight menace of terrorism together
Contrary to earlier reports that the vehicle blew up after a mechanical failure caused a gas leak, the minister stated that investigators had now found traces of explosives. “Terrorism cannot be ruled out,” he added.
Chaudhry also said that the government is working closely with the Chinese authorities and embassy, as nine of the 13 fatalities were Chinese nationals.
The minster said that both Islamabad and Beijing were committed to stamping out terrorism.Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular press briefing earlier on Thursday that Beijing would be working closely with Pakistan to investigate the fatal incident.
“Today China will send out a cross-departmental joint working group to Pakistan to help with relevant work,” Zhao added.
In his Wednesday briefing, Zhao had called it a “bomb attack”, but this was refuted at the time by the Pakistani authorities who deemed the cause a mechanical failure.
In April 2021, five died, none of whom were Chinese, after a car bomb blew up outside a luxury hotel in Balochistan where the Chinese ambassador was staying. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, although it is not certain that the Chinese envoy was their intended target.
Pakistan is an important part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and many Chinese workers have been sent to work on and oversee the projects. Some Pakistanis have registered their displeasure at the number of Chinese people employed on these projects, rather than local workers, and the wage disparity between Chinese and Pakistani staff.