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Monday, November 27, 2023

China and Pakistan will bring Dasu terror attackers to justice – Chinese Foreign Ministry

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying reacted to the findings of the Dasu report that claims RAW and NDS are behind the attack, saying that China and Pakistan will bring these culprits to justice.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying has said that China and Pakistan will cooperate to bring the culprits of the Dasu terror attack to justice. She was reacting, in a Beijing briefing, to the detailed report, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister has presented on the terror attack. Report concludes that the Indian Intelligence agency, RAW, and Afghan agency, NDS, appear to be behind the terror attack that killed nine Chinese and four Pakistanis in July.

Hua Chunying also said that both countries will keep strengthening security cooperation mechanisms to ensure the safety of Chinese projects, people, and institutions in Pakistan, as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister revealed on Wednesday that Afghanistan’s NDS and Indian RAW appear to be behind the Dasu attack.

It must be mentioned that terrorist attack in Dasu on 14 July 2021, at least 13 people – nine Chinese nationals and four Pakistanis – were killed and more than two dozen others wounded when a shuttle bus they were traveling in plunged into a deep ravine after an explosion near it.

Chinese Foreign Office position on Dasu Terror Attack: Important Development 

Ms. Chunying was asked about the findings in the Pakistani investigation that have revealed that the planning for the terrorist attack was done in Afghanistan and the attack was executed by the Swat chapter of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The findings, in the latest report, also revealed that the attacker was trained in Afghanistan and the vehicle used in the attack was brought from Afghanistan to Pakistan and that some of those involved in the attack have been arrested in Pakistan, while others are at large in Afghanistan.

The questioner lastly told Ms. Chunying that the findings have revealed that the terrorist network the attacker is associated with has received support from Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies, asking her for comment.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying replied by firstly appreciating Pakistan’s investigation departments. She said, “The Pakistani side’s investigation into the terrorist attack has seen major progress within a short period of time.”

Then commenting on the report’s findings that the foreign intelligence agencies are involved in the matter, she said, “China and Pakistan will follow the important consensus reached by the leaders on both sides, ascertain all the facts and truth, and hold the culprits accountable and bring them to justice,” mentioning that the investigation by Pakistan is still ongoing. Given that Chinese government, unlike Washington and Delhi, is always cautious in making comments and uses few words this stand that “culprits will be brought to justice” appears a significant development. This also becomes important because Taliban appear to be taking Afghanistan cities one after the other and NDS’s ability to protect the culprits will diminish fast.

Furthermore, Ms. Chunying reiterated FM Qureshi’s point of strengthening cooperation, saying that both countries will keep strengthening security cooperation mechanisms to ensure the safety of Chinese projects, people, and institutions in Pakistan.

Read More: RAW-NDS nexus behind Dasu Attacks: Qureshi

She lastly said that “Terrorism is the common enemy of all mankind”, adding “China firmly opposes any force using terrorism to seek geopolitical gains and calls on countries in the region to collaborate in eradicating all terrorist organizations so as to uphold common security and development interests of all countries.”

Dasu Investigation: Pakistan didn’t want to accuse India? 

A month ago on 14th July, following the incident in Dasu, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met with the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dushanbe conveying to him that the Dasu incident was not a terrorist attack.

The official foreign office statement said, “nine Chinese nationals and three Pakistanis lost their lives when their bus plunged into a ravine after a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast.”

Both the Chinese Embassy and Pakistan media had reacted to this government position with utter disbelief. Media reporter from the area had already informed their bureau heads and broadcast teams that a Honda car, laden with explosives, had collided with one of the buses carrying Chinese workers. Reporters had already told tv channels and newspapers that there were two buses. And after the explosive attack, there was utter mayhem and the second bus following the first bus went into the ravine. Pakistani authorities were arguing that the bus that went into the ravine was not attacked with explosives and deaths were not related to the bomb attack. But it was clear that accident took place, not due to the mechanical error as Pakistani govt was saying, but due to the terrorist attack using an explosive laden Honda car.

Privately highly placed government officers, familiar with the internal discussion, admitted to media, on strict confidentiality, in the third week of July, that perhaps authorities did not want to admit that Indian agencies have developed the ability to target the Chinese workers and assets inside Pakistan. Pakistan has raised a special military Corps to defend the CPEC projects, however apparently Dasu not being part of CPEC was not under the protection of those special army units. After the Dasu attack, Chinese companies had refused working for few days as they wanted assurances of security. They are now back at work.

Dasu Terror Attack: Explosives were found, links traced to Afghanistan 

The investigation continued with greater inter-agency coordination. And on 15th July, traces of explosives were found at the crash site, which revealed the incident as not being just a mechanical failure, leading Pakistan to claim the incident as an act of terror.

Moving on to 12th August, in a joint press conference with the head of the probing team Deputy Inspector General, Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Javed Iqbal on Thursday, FM Qureshi revealed that the investigation has led to links to RAW and NDS being directly involved in the Dasu attacks and that the Afghan soil was used for the attack.

The investigation revealed that the attack was initially planned on a much bigger Diamer Bhasha dam, but failure to do so led these terrorists to attack Dasu.

DIG CTD told that initially, the investigation was marked as a “blind case”, however, after scanning 1000 KM radius of CCTV, the car “Honda Accord” was identified which was then revealed to be smuggled to Pakistan from Afghanistan via the Chaman border.

Hussain, the person who bought the car from a Swat dealership, alongside another handler handed it over to a TTP terrorist from Afghanistan named Tariq, who went back to Afghanistan after delivering the car to the bomber.

The event was planned by a person named Muavia in Afghanistan, Mr. Iqbal said, and was being overseen by RAW and NDS.

Even though no records have been found, the investigation points to the bomber as an Afghan citizen named Khalid Elias Urfe Sheikh and said that at least he was not a Pakistani citizen.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said, “An MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance) request is being made to the Afghanistan government…We both Pakistan and Afghanistan have a commitment that our soil would not be used against each other. In this spirit, we expect the government to cooperate with us the way we extended cooperation in the incident of Afghan envoy’s daughter.”

Read More: Pak-China friendship: Partners in countering challenges

He said that further investigation is in progress to find all those involved in this cowardly attack.

Researched by Hassaan Ul Haq, additional input by GVS News Desk and Editorial team in Islamabad.