China says its staff safe in Pakistan consulate attack

China says its staff safe in Pakistan consulate attack

China says its staff safe in Pakistan consulate attack

Shortly later on Friday morning in an unrelated incident, a blast at a crowded market in a town in Pakistan's northwest killed at least 8 people, and wounded 20 others, a local government official said.

Jinnah Hospital spokesperson Dr. Seemin Jamali confirmed two bodies were brought in after the attack. The consulate's diplomats and staff were unhurt and were evacuated to a safe place, senior police official Ameer Ahmad Sheikh said.

The gunfire could be heard from several kilometres away, and witnesses on social media posted photos of smoke rising into the air.

The attack in Karachi on the Chinese consulate was claimed by a separatist group from Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan.

After the consulate was cleared, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah reached the consulate to meet the consul general where IGP Sindh Kaleem Imam was also present.

The project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is one of the largest projects in Beijing's "Belt and Road Initiative", comprising a network of roads and sea routes involving 65 countries.

"We have carried out this attack and our action is continuing", the spokesman for the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Geand Baloch, told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called the attack a conspiracy against economic cooperation with China. The discrepancy with the Pakistani officials' reports could not be immediately reconciled.

Khan issued a statement, saying he has ordered a probe into Friday's attack.

"There were three attackers and all three have been killed".

"There were three suicide attackers", Jiand Baloch of the BLA said.

Two police officers have been reported killed following an attack at China's consulate in Pakistan's southern coastal city of Karachi, according to reports.

Orakzai has been the scene of several militant attacks in recent years, mostly by Pakistani Sunni militants, who revile Shiites as apostates. But he said that would not sway China's government and Chinese firms from expanding their footprint overseas, even while they take additional precautions.

"There have been no casualties among the Chinese, or our guards, or among the visa applicants, since they managed to get inside", said Ikram Sehgal, whose company, Security Management Services, guards the consulate.

Separatists have for decades campaigned against the central government and what they see as the unfair exploitation of the province's resources, in particular natural gas and minerals. Police said a suicide bomber on a motorbike drove into a crowded marketplace.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), announced in April 2014 by Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is a collection of a variety of projects in transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, and other areas, all backed by billions in Chinese financing.

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