The suicide attack targeting the Chinese guest inside the Karachi University campus on Tuesday afternoon has left a trail of questions that need to be seriously evaluated and the situation requires remedial measures for national security and smooth development in the coming times. Law-enforcement agencies have reached the family and whereabouts of the female suicide bomber who targeted a vehicle carrying the Confucius Institute faculty members on the university campus, killing three Chinese nationals and their local driver. Banned Majeed Brigade, an offshoot of the banned Baloch Liberation Army, was quick to claim responsibility for the attack on social media. The Karachi police chief says the suicide bomber belonged to Turbat and was an MPhil student at Karachi University. The Baloch militants which have long been relying on IED blasts have now fielded suicide bombers, and in this case, an educated and a mother of two small children, to hit the high-profile target. This is the second major attack on the Chinese nationals in recent months, after the Hub Dam attack, which had claimed the lives of several Chinese engineers. The same outfit has earlier claimed to have struck the Pakistan Stock Exchange in June 2020. Not to forget, in November 2018, the Chinese Consulate in the Clifton area of Karachi was also attacked. Sensing the sensitivity of the target, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the entire political leadership and prominent personalities have strongly condemned the incident.
For years, security for the Chinese has become a daunting task for the law-enforcement agencies due to increasing activities of the Indian-funded BLA and its offshoots in Balochistan and now in Karachi too. The Chinese embassy has instructed its citizens to be cautious while moving in public places. It is not hard to guess that the Chinese will have a list of hard questions ready for Shehbaz Sharif whenever he undertakes a visit to China in the coming weeks or months. Among the issues to be discussed include the resumption of work on the CPEC project and Chinese assistance to overcome the ongoing economic turmoil. But the most pressing issue consuming both sides’ time and attention will be the security of Chinese officials working in Pakistan. Every single terror attack not only weakens the prospects for renewed warmth and closeness in Pakistan-China relations but also impacts the scale of national development. Side by side, the government by engaging the political leadership should reach out to the natives of Balochistan and start a sincere dialogue with them. An unbiased analysis of the situation will help the government find durable solutions.