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Pakistan to perform DNA test on remains of suicide bomber who killed 5 Chinese nationals

Pakistani authorities plan to conduct DNA testing on the remains of the suicide bomber responsible for an attack in Shangla, northwest Pakistan, officials said.

Pakistani authorities will perform DNA testing on the remains of the suicide bomber who rammed his explosive-laden car into a vehicle in the country's northwest, killing five Chinese nationals and their local driver, officials said Wednesday.

The attack occurred in Shangla, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where thousands of Chinese nationals work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which includes a multitude of megaprojects such as road construction, power plants and agriculture. The CPEC is a lifeline for Pakistan’s cash-strapped government, currently facing one of its worst economic crises.

The five were engineers and laborers heading Tuesday to the Dasu Dam, the biggest hydropower project in Pakistan, where they worked. Their remains were transported to the capital, Islamabad, local police official Altaf Khan said, adding that the deceased had a police escort when the attack happened.


Pakistani officials said they shared the latest investigation developments with their Chinese counterparts. China is expected to send its own experts Wednesday to the attack site to conduct an independent investigation while collaborating with Pakistani authorities.

Khan also said they have further expanded a search started a day earlier to look for the attacker’s possible accomplices.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion is likely to fall on separatists as well as a breakaway Gul Bahadur faction of Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, and is a separate group, but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban.

The TTP denied being behind the suicide bombing in a statement Wednesday, saying: "We are in no way related to the attack on the Chinese engineers."


Tuesday’s attack came less than a week after Pakistani security forces killed eight Baluchistan Liberation Army separatists who opened fire on a convoy carrying Chinese citizens outside the Chinese-funded Gwadar port in the volatile southwestern Baluchistan province.

The Chinese foreign ministry condemned the attack and offered "deep condolences to the deceased" in a statement Wednesday.

The ministry said China has asked "Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the incident as soon as possible, hunt down the perpetrators, and bring them to justice" and added that "any attempt to undermine China-Pakistan cooperation will never succeed."

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif promised a swift conclusion to the investigation during a visit with the Chinese ambassador, Jiang Zaidong, on Tuesday.

Zaidong, accompanied by Pakistani officials, visited the Dasu dam Wednesday, according to a statement by Pakistan's government.

The statement also said Sharif presided over a high-level security meeting, attended by the country's powerful army chief Gen. Asim Munir. In the meeting, the premier said Tuesday's attack was "creating mistrust" between Pakistan and China and vowed to bring "the barbaric perpetrators to justice."

The army chief seconded Sharif's promise and said they would ensure the safety of all foreigners in the country, "especially Chinese nationals, contributing to the prosperity of Pakistan."

Chinese laborers working on CPEC-related projects in Pakistan have come under attack in recent years.

In July 2021, at least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle near a bus carrying several Chinese and Pakistani engineers and laborers, prompting the Chinese companies to suspend work at the time. Pakistani authorities at the time initially insisted it was a road accident, but China disputed the claim, saying victims were the target of a suicide attack.

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