Pakistan says it has arrested a man who allegedly provided technical support for a deadly suicide bomb attack on Chinese teachers at the University of Karachi in April.
A suspected female suicide bomber killed three Chinese teachers, drawing strong condemnation from Beijing, in the first big attack this year against nationals of long-time ally China working in Pakistan.
Four people died in total, including the minibus driver and three Chinese staff from the Confucius Institute, a cultural and educational programme that China operates at the university.
The attack was the result of the combined efforts of two separatist groups, the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Sindh province information minister Sharjeel Memon told a news conference.
The accused man, Dad Bakash, was arrested from Karachi’s district west on Monday and confessed to being a commander of a sleeper cell of the BLF, he said.
“He confessed to carrying out surveillance of Chinese nationals at Karachi University and important installations on the task given by Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and met and provided assistance to the female suicide bomber and her husband.”
Recently, Pakistan has been under increasing pressure from the Chinese government to provide fool-proof security to Chinese working in Pakistan.
Mineral-rich Balochistan houses a deep-water port in Gwadar city which Beijing is developing under the China Pakistan Economic-Corridor (CPEC) project, part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative to expand trade linkages.
The accused told investigators that the militant network is spread across neighbouring countries and they are also in contact with the separatist groups in these countries, Memon said.
The Baloch separatist fighters say they are fighting for complete independence of Balochistan as well as for a greater share in the region’s mines and minerals. The groups usually attack gas projects, infrastructure and the security forces.