Karachi firing: A Chinese national was shot dead and two others were injured when unidentified men opened fire at a crowded market in Pakistan's Karachi on Wednesday. According to reports, the assailants opened fire inside a dental clinic.
The Dawn quoted a police official, as saying that one person was killed in the incident and two others shifted to a local hospital, where their condition was stated to be critical. All three were Chinese nationals.
The police identified the victims as 25-year-old RonilD Raimond Chaw, 72-year-old Margrade, and 74-year-old Richard. SSP (South) Asad Raza said that the attacker, in his early 30s, entered the clinic located in Karachi's Saddar area pretending to be a patient and opened fire inside the doctor's room.
"The attacker killed the assistant, Ronald Chow, on the spot and injured dentist Dr Richard Hu Lee (74) and his wife Margaret (72)," the officer said.
Both the doctor and his wife had been running the dental clinic for a long period of time and had not received any threats, Raza said. SHO Saddar police station Bashir Ahmed said the doctor and his wife were out of danger at the hospital where they are being treated for bullet wounds.
He said police have recovered several 9mm pistol shells from the clinic. Bashir said they are investigating the motive behind the attack. "It appears the assailant had some dispute with the doctor and his wife," he said. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has ordered the immediate arrest of the attackers, saying such incidents were not tolerable, according to the official statement. He has also sought a detailed report from the Karachi Additional IGP.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah condemned the incident and directed the Sindh chief secretary to prepare a report on the firing and immediately arrest the perpetrators. "Such incidents are intolerable. The security of Chinese residents should be ensured in every way,” Sanaullah said in a tweet.
The dental clinic is located just opposite the famous Empress market and the street has other dental clinics as well which have been run by Chinese dentists for decades now. "It is a very busy and bustling street at the time and we just heard two or three shots and there was pandemonium and the man apparently escaped in the confusion and melee," said Zahoor, who works as a waiter at a famous ice cream shop few shops down the clinic. He said the traffic policemen on duty near the clinic rushed immediately after hearing the shots while the police mobile also reached the spot quickly.
Chinese nationals who have either been settled in Pakistan for years and set up their own businesses or have come in the wave of officers and workers after the launch of the Chinese Pakistan Economic Corridor projects are seen in big numbers in the Saddar area. Chinese nationals now settled in Pakistan not only run successful dental clinics but also Chinese restaurants and herbal clinics in Karachi - the capital of the southern Sindh Province which is also home to several Chinese-funded construction projects.
The incident is the latest in the recent spate of attacks on Chinese nationals in the country. In April, three Chinese were killed in a suicide blast in Karachi University carried out by the separatist Baloch Liberation Army, which is opposed to China's investments in Balochistan, accusing China and Pakistan of exploitation of the resource-rich region.
Following this, China issued a stern warning to Islamabad following the KU suicide attack. "The blood of the Chinese cannot be shed in vain, and those behind this incident will surely pay the price," a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson had said.
Some of the other attacks were also attributed to radical Islamic militant outfits in Pakistan. In July 2021, gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a vehicle carrying two Chinese factory workers at Karachi’s Nuclear Power Plant, wounding both. In November 2018, the BLA insurgents tried to storm the Chinese consulate in Karachi’s Clifton area in which four people were killed including two policemen and two of the attackers.
With recurring attacks, China is reportedly pressing Pakistan to permit the Chinese agencies to provide security for their personnel which, according to press reports, Islamabad is resisting.
(With inputs from PTI)