At least four people, including three Chinese nationals, were killed while two others were injured in a suspected suicide attack inside the premises of Karachi University (KU), officials said on Tuesday.
The bombing targetted a white Hiace van near the gate of the Confucius Institute inside the varsity premises. The Chinese nationals were part of the institute’s faculty.
“We suspect that it’s a suicide attack. A burqa-clad woman approached the van and the blast took place,” said Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon. “We are investigating the incident by collecting evidence, but it seems that the Chinese teachers were the actual target of the explosion,” the city police chief said.
However, DIG East Muqadas Hyder was more guarded in his statement and said the police has obtained the CCTV footage of the blast and were investigating. “It is premature to say whether or not it was a suicide attack. We also have to confirm if the burqa-clad woman was a passerby or the bomber.”
The KU vice-chancellor also confirmed that Chinese faculty members were among the deceased. The Pakistan driver was also killed in the blast. Footage showed a white van in flames with plumes of smoke rising from its remains while the windows of nearby buildings were shattered.
The van appeared to be turning towards the Confucius Institute, located next to the commerce department, when the incident took place. Footage also showed police and rescue services present at the scene of the incident.
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Soon after the incident, a large contingent of law enforcers along with rescue personnel reached the site of the incident. Following the explosion, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah contacted the police chief and ordered the Karachi commissioner to submit a report on the bombing.
Shah also paid a visit to the Chinese Consulate where he briefed Consul General Li Bijian about the blast. He expressed grief over the death of three Chinese nationals in the incident. The chief minister also assured the Chinese official that the incident would be fully investigated.
“Those involved in the incident will be brought to justice. We value the services rendered by Chinese experts in the country and the province,” Shah said. “Some elements do not like the partnership between the two countries,” he said, adding that the miscreants behind the incident would be dealt with an iron hand.
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief over the blast in a telephone call with the Sindh chief minister. The premier assured Shah that the federal government would extend help to the provincial government to prevent such attacks in the future.
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