QUETTA: A car bomb blast rippled late Wednesday through the parking lot of a luxury hotel in the southwestern city of Quetta Pacetta, killing four people and wounding 11, officials said.
China’s ambassador to Pakistan was staying at the hotel, but was not there when the bomb exploded, said Pakistan’s interior minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad.
Provincial home minister Ziaullah Lango said the ambassador was right.
“An explosion has rocked the Serena Hotel parking lot,” police officer Nasir Malik told Reuters, saying 11 people were wounded. An official at a local civil hospital, Waseem Baig, said four people had died, and “several others were in critical condition.”
“A car full of explosives exploded in the hotel,” Ahmad told a local ARY News TV.
Pakistan Taliban he claimed responsibility for the bombing.
“It was a suicide attack in which our suicide bomber used his explosive-filled car at the hotel,” a spokesman for the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) wrote in a text message to a Reuters correspondent.
Earlier in the day Chinese ambassador Nong Rong had met with the provincial prime minister, Jam Kamal, in the city, according to a tweet from the provincial government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani.
Lango told reporters: “I just met him. He’s in a high mood,” adding the ambassador would complete his visit to Quetta on Thursday.
The Chinese Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
The fortified hotel is next to the Iranian Consulate and the provincial parliament building. Quetta is the capital of the mineral-rich southwest Balochistan a province bordering Iran and Afghanistan, which has long been a location of low-level insurgency by local nationalists, who want more share in regional resources.
The province is home to the newly expanded Gwadar deepwater port that is key to a planned $ 65 billion investment in the China Belt and Road Enterprise economic corridor.
It was unclear whether the ambassador or members of his delegation were the target of the attack, but Taliban militants and nationalist rebels have previously attacked Chinese citizens and their interests in the region.