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Pakistan: Five Japanese nationals narrowly escape unhurt in suicide bombing attack in Karachi

Islamist militants in Pakistan have launched some of Pakistan's bloodiest attacks on foreigners, including citizens from its all-weather friend China. Friday's attempted attack comes nearly a month after a suicide bomb attack killed five Chinese engineers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Karachi Published on: April 19, 2024 12:33 IST
pakistan suicide attack, japanese nationals
Image Source : REUTERS Pakistani authorities examining the damaged vehicle following the attempted suicide attack in Karachi.

Karachi: Five Japanese nationals narrowly escaped death when their vehicle was targeted by militants in a suicide bombing attack in the capital of Pakistan's Sindh province on Friday, marking the latest attack on foreign nationals in the country. Police said the militants on a motorbike attempted to ram into the van carrying the Japanese nationals, prompting the security guards to shoot dead one while the other blew himself up in Karachi.

Islamist militants seeking to overthrow the government and set up their own strict brand of Islamic rule have launched some of Pakistan's bloodiest attacks during the last few years, with some separatist groups targeting foreigners, including Chinese. The Japanese nationals were reportedly working with Pakistan Suzuki Motors, near Murtaza Chorangi in Landhi, and were on their way to the Export Processing Zone from their residence in Zamzama, Clifton, said Deputy Inspector General (DIG) East Azfar Mahesar. While all five of them were safe, a private security guard and two passers-by were injured in the clash with the militants.

Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) DIG Asif Aijaz Shaikh said the Japanese nationals were travelling in a van along with two security guards when the terrorists tried to hit the van. “No one has claimed responsibility so far,” the DIG said, adding that the vehicle carrying the Japanese nationals was bullet-proof. Jinnah Hospital officials said three injured, two security guards and a passerby, were brought to the medical facility out of which two were in critical condition.

Reactions to the incident

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the incident and prayed for the recovery of the injured, according to a statement posted on X. "Timely action by the police saved us from any major loss of life...We will not rest until terrorism has been completely eradicated. We will thwart every nefarious act of disturbing the law and order situation," he said.

Separately, Separately, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah directed the inspector general to submit a report after investigating the attack, including details on who the terrorists were, where they came from, any information on their facilitators and details of explosives used in the blast, according to Dawn. He directed that immediate arrangements be made for the security of the foreign nationals.

“Anti-national elements want to disrupt law and order, which will not be allowed at any cost,” the CM said, praising the timely action of the police. Sindh Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon strongly condemned the attack. “The timely action of the police has foiled the ambitions of the terrorists,” Memon said in a statement.

Attack on Chinese engineers

This comes nearly a month after a suicide bombing incident killed five Chinese workers and their Pakistan driver in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shangla area. The bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers which was on its way from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The bodies of five Chinese personnel killed in the suicide bomb attack were flown to Wuhan on a special Pakistani military plane on Monday as Beijing planned to step up security measures to protect hundreds of its workers employed in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects amid increasing attacks by militants. Thousands of Chinese personnel are working in Pakistan on several projects under the aegis of the $60 billion CPEC.

The deadly attack on Chinese workers in Pakistan has shaken their confidence and some of them are planning to leave the country over security reasons, according to Pakistan’s security analyst Muhammad Amir Rana. "The attack has caused significant alarm. Apart from disrupting these vital infrastructure projects, it has shaken the confidence of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan. Reports indicate some are considering leaving the country due to safety concerns," he wrote in Dawn.

PM Shehbaz rushed to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad in an apparent attempt to mellow down tensions and ordered a joint investigation into the March incident. Earlier in 2023, Chinese engineers were attacked while their vehicles moving in a convoy in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Although local media reports claimed several Chinese nationals were killed, later the police officials said they were only injured. 

(with inputs from agencies)

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