A powerful car bomb has exploded at a top hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador in southwest Pakistan, killing at least four people and injuring a dozen.
The blast took place in Serena’s car park – a luxury hotel chain across Pakistan – in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, where the military has been battling lower-level insurgency for decades.
“At least four people were killed and 12 others were injured,” Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told AFP, calling it an act of terrorism.
A four-member Chinese delegation led by the ambassador was staying at the hotel.
“The ambassador was out for a meeting when the blast occurred,” he added.
The Pakistani Taliban later claimed responsibility for the bombing, which they said was a suicide attack.
Accordingly, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong had earlier met Provincial Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan in the city. A tweet From provincial government spokesman Liaqat Shahwani.
Interior Minister Ziaullah Lango told reporters: “I just met him. The envoy, who concluded his visit to Quetta on Thursday, added that he was in high spirits. The Chinese embassy in Pakistan immediately No comments were made.
Despite its natural resources, Balochistan is poor. It is a source of great frustration for residents who complain that they do not get their fair share of gas and mineral wealth.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has sparked outrage over billions of dollars in Chinese money in the region – a key part of China’s belt and road initiative. .
Azhar Ikram, a senior city police official, confirmed the death toll, saying the Chinese ambassador was staying at the hotel but was not present at the time of the blast.
“Preliminary investigations show that it was an IED installed in one of the vehicles,” Ikram said.
Senior police official Azhar Akram said officers were trying to determine if the bomb had been planted in a car parked in the hotel’s parking lot. He did not provide further details, but police said an investigation was under way. The bomb exploded minutes after entering the parking lot and authorities were investigating whether it was a suicide attack, other security officials said.
In 2019, gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the wake of a CPEC flagship project.
And in June, Baloch insurgents targeted the Pakistan Stock Exchange, which is partly owned by Chinese companies.
The Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for all the attacks.
It comes more than a week after anti-French protests led by an extremist group based in the eastern city of Lahore.
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