The bus was carrying Chinese engineers, surveyors and mechanical staff to the Dasu dam site in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is under construction.
It was not immediately clear whether the blast was the result of a roadside device or something planted inside the bus.
At least 13 people, including 9 Chinese nationals and 2 Pakistani soldiers, killed after a blast sent a bus plungin… https://t.co/3V2YeOOAbR
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Inspector general Moazzam Jah Ansari, the top police official of Khyber-Paktunkhwa, the province in which the incident occurred, confirmed the death of Chinese nationals, two soldiers and two locals.
“The bus plunged into a deep ravine after the blast and caused heavy losses. One Chinese engineer and one soldier are missing. The rescue operation is launched and the entire government machinery has been mobilised to rescue the injured by air ambulance,” a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Ansari told Reuters that police were investigating.
“Looks like sabotage,” Ansari said as he was departing on a helicopter for the site.
At least three other officials confirmed to Reuters that a blast hit the bus.
A senior administrative officer of the Hazara region told Reuters the bus was carrying more than 30 Chinese engineers to the site of the Dasu dam in Upper Kohistan.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion investment plan under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative that is aimed at connecting western China to the Gwadar sea port in southern Pakistan.
Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have been working on the Dasu hydroelectric project and several others for several years in the region where the blast took place.
China asks Pakistan to investigate bus blast
China has asked Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the bus blast, the foreign ministry said.
Beijing condemned the blast, expressed condolences and asked Pakistan to protect the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing.
The Chinese embassy in Pakistan also posted a statement saying that “a certain project of a Chinese firm in Pakistan suffered an attack, which caused the deaths of Chinese nationals”.
It urged Chinese firms to strengthen their security procedures.
“This is clearly an act of terrorism that has been carefully planned and was supported by information,” said an editorial in Global Times, a Chinese tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, calling it the most serious attack on Chinese nationals in recent years.
Security of Chinese workers has long been an issue of concern in Pakistan, where Beijing has poured in tens of billions of dollars in recent years, and large numbers of Chinese nationals are now based in the country to supervise and build infrastructure projects.
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