‘We are ashamed’: Students of martyred Chinese KU teachers remember them

According to media sources, a female bomber carrying five to ten kgs of explosives performed a blast at the entrance of the Confucius Institute at Karachi University on Tuesday. The bomb was targeted at a Toyota Hiace van seating three Chinese instructors. Its impact also shattered the windows of the Department of Commerce located on the second floor of the institute. The nearby K-Electric substation doors also flew open in the blast.

The official Bomb Disposal Squad, investigating the blast spot, stated that the van was halted in its track before the explosion. Chaudhry Hadi, a private guard, posted at the Confucius Institute, was found praying for his colleague, the injured guard who used to accompany the Chinese staff from their living quarters to the Institute. He was injured badly in the blast. The van driver Khalid died on the spot.

Mustajab Hussain, a student of the Confucius Institute, said:

These teachers were here to educate us about their language and culture, and they died doing all that. They may not be Muslim, but does that not make them martyrs? They were our guests here. I wish we had taken more care of them and provided them with tighter security.

Who targeted the Chinese?

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a militant separatist group from Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, is allegedly responsible for the suicide attack targeted at the Chinese nationals.

Bordering Afghanistan and Iran, Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest but least populated province. It is fundamental to Pakistan’s massive multibillion-dollar infrastructure deal with Beijing, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In 2020, at least five people died when the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi was targeted in an attack claimed by the BLA, which described its actions as “retaliation” against “Chinese exploitative plans in Balochistan.”

In 2018, the BLA claimed another attack in which shooters tried to storm the Chinese consulate in Karachi, killing four people. It said it would not tolerate any Chinese military expansionist endeavors.

Last year, 13 people, including 9 Chinese nationals, were killed in an explosion that hit a bus convoy carrying Chinese engineers to a hydro-power plant construction site in northern Pakistan.

Terrorist attacks alarm Beijing

China is a close partner to Pakistan and its biggest source of military and economic support. But in recent years, terrorist attacks targeting Chinese nationals and their interests in Pakistan have alarmed Beijing.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has condemned the incident. China’s foreign ministry expressed “strong condemnation and indignation” over the attack. It demanded Pakistan investigate thoroughly, punish those responsibly, ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and prevent such incidents from happening again. In a statement, the ministry said:

The blood of the Chinese people should not be shed in vain, and those behind this incident will surely pay the price.

Chinese nationals living in Pakistan are scared for their lives, not knowing when the next attack will target them. Only time will tell what measures the present government takes to deal with the issue.

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