‘Chinese nationals’ among at least four dead in blast at Karachi university

·2-min read
Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of an explosion in Karachi, Pakistan (EPA)
Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of an explosion in Karachi, Pakistan (EPA)

At least four people have died after an explosion involving a minivan inside the campus of the University of Karachi in southern Pakistan.

Police were quoted as saying that three Chinese nationals were among the dead, and that counter-terrorism units have been dispatched to the scene.

According to local media reports, the blast took place at 1.5pm local time in a van near a Chinese language teaching centre at the varsity. The injured Chinese nations, along with a rangers’ officer and a private guard were rushed to a local hospital.

The dead have been identified as Huang Guiping, the director of the Chinese-built Confucius Institute at Karachi university, as well as teachers Ding Mupeng and Chen Sai and their local Pakistani driver Khalid.

A Chinese national Wang Yuqing and another person identified as Hamid also sustained injuries in the explosion.

The local police said they are yet to certain whether it was an act of terrorism or an accident, however, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said the initial investigation suggests it may have been a suicide attack.

Mr Memon added that closed-circuit television footage showed a person dressed in a burqa walking up to the minivan, which was followed by an “instantaneous explosion”.

Muqaddas Haider, the deputy inspector general of police (DIG), said that the blast could have been a terrorist attack targeting Chinese nationals. The Balochistan Liberation Army, a militant group in nearby Balochistan province, is notorious for targeting Chinese nationals.

“The explosion took place at the van’s right side at the [institute’s] entrance. We are still establishing what type of explosion it was,” Mr Hailder was quoted by the Dawn newspaper as saying.

Local media reported that the Balochistan Liberation Army, a militant group in nearby Balochistan province, claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack later on Tuesday afternoon, with the outfit’s spokesperson claiming that the attack was carried out by their first female suicide bomber.

The group is notorious for targetting Chinese nationals and had ramped up attacks during former prime minister Imran Khan’s tenure.

Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah said he had directed senior officials including from the counter-terrorism department to reach the spot immediately and move the injured to the Dow University Hospital in a bid to prevent further casualties.

Newly-elected prime minister Shehbaz Sharif reportedly expressed grief over the blast in a telephone conversation with Mr Shah.

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