t least four people were killed earlier today in the Pakistani city of Karachi in an attack on the Chinese consulate which was apparently orchestrated by separatist militants in response to Chinese investment projects in Pakistan.
Three gunmen attempted to enter the consulate at around 9:30 am today, but were stopped by guards. A firefight then ensued which left the three gunmen dead along with four victims including two police officers. None of those killed was a Chinese national and all staff inside the consulate are reported to be safe.
Footage from the scene shows vehicles on fire and heavy smoke billowing up into the air outside of the consulate’s walls. The attackers are reported to have thrown at least 10 hand grenades.
Terrorist attack near the Chinese consulate in Karachi
Location is not confirmed.
Three terrorists stared firing and throwing hand grenades. pic.twitter.com/nRhVgB4vmH
— Sabena Siddiqi (@sabena_siddiqi) November 23, 2018
Soon afterward, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it would not tolerate any more “Chinese military expansionist endeavors” on Baloch soil.
The BLA is one of a number of separatist groups fighting for self-determination for Pakistan’s western Balochistan province. The province is largely rural and impoverished, but strategically significant due to its location and rich gas and coal reserves.
As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China has poured billions of dollars into infrastructure projects in Balochistan which have become a target for groups like the BLA. Last year, a pair of Chinese teacher-missionaries were infamously kidnapped in the city of Quetta and later executed with the Islamic State claiming responsibility.
Despite problems with terrorism, China has stood by its ally Pakistan and defended it against criticism from the United States. Earlier this month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan paid a visit to Beijing in search of securing even more financial aid from China’s leaders. Appropriately enough, during Khan’s speech, Pakistani TV mistakenly spelled Beijing as “Begging.”