KARACHI/ISLAMABAD - Four persons including three Chinese language teachers lost lives when a female suicide bomber blew up a van in the premises of the University of Karachi on Tuesday, police and rescue workers said.
At least four persons including an official of Pakistan Rangers and two Chinese nationals were injured as the blast ripped through the van near the university’s Confucius Institute.
The terrorist group Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed it attacked the vehicle carrying the Chinese staff, and that the suicide bomber had been a woman. The BLA’s statement identified the bomber as Shari Baloch or Bramsh, saying she was the group’s first female bomber.
The dead included the director of the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-run body which offers language and cultural programmes overseas, and two other faculty members in Karachi. CCTV footage showed a woman standing outside the gate of the institute as the van arrives, followed by a powerful explosion.
A spokesperson for the university confirmed that three of the victims were Chinese nationals. They were identified as Confucius Institute Director Huang Guiping, Ding Mupeng, Chen Sai and Khalid, the driver.
The spokesperson also identified two of the injured as Wang Yuqing and Hamid.
Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) official Raja Umar Khattab confirmed use of ball bearings in the attack and said that the Chinese teachers were guarded by a team of Rangers and therefore a female suicide bomber was used to attack the vehicle.
Acting Vice Chancellor University of Karachi Professor Dr Nasira Khatoon, acting Registrar Professor Dr Maqsood Ali Ansari, Pakistani Director of Confucius Institute for the Chinese Language at the University of Karachi Professor Dr Nasir Uddin Khan strongly condemned the blast on the vehicle of the Chinese faculty and expressed heartfelt condolences to the families of the Chinese teachers killed in the blast.
The KU administration also announced that academic activities and public dealing will remain suspended on Wednesday.
President Dr Arif Alvi strongly condemned the Karachi attack and expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of precious human lives in the incident. In a statement on Tuesday, he expressed sympathy with the families of the deceased Chinese nationals. The President said Pakistan will punish the terrorists involved in this heinous act.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also strongly condemned van blast inside the University of Karachi and expressed grief over the loss of precious human lives in the incident and prayed early recovery for the injured. He telephoned Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and sought information about the incident. The Prime Minister expressed grief over the death of two women, including Chinese nationals and a driver. He assured the Sindh Chief Minister of all possible cooperation to eliminate the menace of terrorism from Pakistani society. He said terrorists are foes of Pakistan and expressed the resolve to eliminate them with unity and joint efforts.
Syed Murad Ali Shah apprised the Prime Minister about initial detail of the blast at the campus.
Shehbaz Sharif directed to provide the best medical facilities to the injured. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also condemned the incident.
Also, the Foreign Office strongly condemned the reprehensible terrorist attack in Karachi which claimed innocent lives, including those of Chinese nationals working at the Confucius Institute.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said the Government and people of Pakistan extend their deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of victims who lost their lives in the incident.
It said the law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice. Local authorities are also providing all possible assistance to the injured.
The Foreign Office said the cowardly incident is a direct attack on the Pakistan-China friendship and ongoing cooperation. It said Pakistan and China are close friends and iron-brothers. Pakistan attaches great importance to safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in Pakistan.
PM vows to investigate terror attack on Chinese nationals
Prime Minister, Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday visited Chinese Embassy in Islamabad and expressed resolve to investigate the terrorist attack on Chinese nationals expeditiously and take the culprits to the task.
During his visit to the embassy, he met Chinese Charge d’Affaires Ms Pang Chunxue. He also wrote a special message of condolence to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Prime Minister expressed sorrow and grief over the death of Chinese nationals in a van blast at Karachi University. He said the entire Pakistani nation is in shock and grief over the brutal attack on its Iron Brothers.
He said the people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the government, people and families of the victims.
Condemning the incident, Shehbaz Sharif expressed Pakistan’s determination to eradicate all forms of terrorism and terrorists from its soil.
He directed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to reach Karachi on Wendesday. He said we will not sit idle until criminals are arrested and punished. He said those who took the lives of Chinese nationals will be hanged. The Prime Minister said that make all arrangements will be made for repatriation of dead bodies and return of injured with honour and respect.
He also ordered to increase the security of Chinese nationals and organizations working in Pakistan. He said no stone will be left unturned to bring the culprits to justice.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also recorded his impressions in the condolence book at the embassy.
Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah also visited Chinese Consulate and met Consul General Mr Li Bijian in Karachi on Tuesday. Sindh Chief Minister expressed deep grief and sorrow over the incident of blast in a van at Karachi University. He shared the details of the incident with him and said that the incident would be investigated properly and assured that culprits will be brought to justice.
Earlier, Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Maher told the chief minister that at about 14:30 hrs a blast took place in a van near Commerce Dept of Karachi university. “Initial report indicates four casualties which include Chinese nationals.”
The chief minister has directed IG Police to conduct a security audit of Chinese nationals living in Sindh under CPEC and non-CPEC related projects and report him.