At least four people were killed and a dozen others were injured when a bomb exploded in a top hotel embracing a Chinese ambassador in southwest Pakistan, officials said late Wednesday.
The blast happened in the car park of the Serena – a luxury hotel chain throughout Pakistan – in the city of Quetta, the capital of the province of Balochistan where the army has been fighting a low-level insurgency over a decade.
“At least four people have been killed and 12 others injured,” Pakistan’s interior minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, told AFP, describing it as “an act of terrorism”.
“A Chinese delegation of about four people led by the ambassador was lodging at the hotel.
“The ambassador was out for a meeting when the explosion happened,” he added.
Balochistan is poor despite its natural resources – a source of great anger to residents who complain that they do not receive a fair share of the gas and mineral wealth.
Austerity has been fueled by billions of dollars of Chinese money flowing into the region through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a key part of China’s Belt and Roads Initiative – which locals say has benefited little most jobs have just gone to outsiders.
Azhar Ikram, a senior city police officer, confirmed the deaths and said a Chinese ambassador was staying at the hotel, but was not present at the time of the blast.
“An initial probe suggests an IED was planted in one of the vehicles,” said Ikram.
No group claimed the attack immediately.
In 2019 gunmen stormed a luxury hotel overlooking CPEC’s flagship project – the deep-water port in Chadar that provides strategic access to the Arabian Sea to China – killing at least eight people.
And in June, Baloch rebels targeted the Pakistan Stock Exchange, which is partly owned by Chinese companies.
All the attacks were claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army.
It comes after more than a week of violent anti-France protests led by an extremist party based in the eastern city of Lahore.
(With the exception of the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from syndicated feed.)