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Chinese investigators join probe into suicide attack in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: A team of Chinese investigators on Friday reached Pakistan to join a probe into a suicide attack that killed five of its nationals earlier this week, Pakistani officials said in a statement.
Pakistani official, in an official statement, said that Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi met the investigators at the Chinese embassy here and briefed them on the investigation so far.
Five Chinese and their Pakistani driver were killed when a suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into a vehicle in the Bisham area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Tuesday when they were being driven to a construction site of the Dasu Hydroelectric power station in Kohistan district of the same province.
Two days earlier, Pakistani officials shared with the Chinese embassy the preliminary findings of their investigation into the attack, for which so far no group has claimed responsibility.
On Wednesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered a thorough joint investigation into the deadly terrorist attack on Chinese nationals, as Beijing pressed Islamabad to speed up the hunt for the perpetrators and take effective steps to protect Chinese personnel working in the country.
Till now none of the terror group has claimed the responsibility. However, rebels affiliated with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) of ethnic Baloch nationalists in the past have carried out such attacks against foreign nationals.
Pakistan has blamed enemies of ties with China as responsible for the latest attack but restrained from naming any country or group.
“Pakistan and China are close friends and iron brothers. We have no doubt that the Bisham terror attack was orchestrated by the enemies of Pakistan-China friendship,” foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Baloch said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.
This is not the first attack on Chinese nationals working on CPEC-related projects in Pakistan. Earlier, in July 2021, at least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed when a suicide bomber detonated the explosives in his vehicle near a bus carrying Chinese and Pakistani engineers and laborers, prompting Chinese companies to suspend work for a time.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani media reported on Friday that two more Chinese companies have stopped work on hydropower projects in the unruly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
On Thursday, the Power Construction Corporation of China suspended civil works at the Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project in the Swabi district in the province and laid off over 2,000 workers.
After the Tarbela project, the Chinese companies have now suspended civil work at the Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha dams due to security concerns and about 1,000 Chinese engineers working on both projects have stopped operations.
The local staff for both projects has been directed to stay home till further orders, The News International newspaper reported.
(With inputs from agencies)

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