Four people, including three Chinese nationals, were killed while four others sustained injuries in a car explosion on the premises of the University of Karachi.
According to the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), it was a suicide blast and was carried out by a burqa-clad woman.
The explosion occurred at 1:52pm in a van near the Confucius Institute — a Chinese language teaching centre at Karachi University. Following the blast, rescue and security agencies rushed to the location and cordoned off the areas, initiating rescue operations.
The deceased Chinese nationals have been identified as the director of the Confucius Institute Huang Guiping, Ding Mupeng, Chen Sai, and their Pakistani driver, Khalid.
Police said the van entered the premises through the Maskan gate of the university.
Of the four people who sustained injuries, two have been identified as Chinese national Wang Yuqing and a security guard named Hamid. All of them are currently hospitalised and are receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, the bodies of the deceased have been shifted to Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital for an autopsy.
The explosion was initially reported to have been caused by a gas cylinder. However, the police later said that the blast could have been a suicide attack. Sources further added that the victims were returning to the Confucius Institute from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA).
SUICIDE ATTACK: Meanwhile, in charge of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Raja Umar Khattab confirmed that it was a suicide attack and a burqa-clad woman seen in the CCTV footage was responsible for it.
“A separatist group has also claimed responsibility for the attack,” Khattab said, adding that the terrorists, after surveillance, targeted the vehicle carrying the foreigners.
He said that Rangers personnel were escorting the vehicle on their motorbikes when the explosion occurred.
“The explosive material used in the blast does not seem to be local-made,” Khattab said, adding that the explosive material consisted of steel ball-bearings and was contained in a schoolbag.
Meanwhile, a police report said that about three to four kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.
Earlier, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) East Muqaddas Haider, while speaking to Geo News, had said that it is the bomb disposal squad’s responsibility to determine the nature of the blast, adding that the process of identification was underway.
SINDH CM: Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah directed the deputy commissioner (DC) East and Superintendent of Police (SP) East to reach the spot of the blast immediately.
The Sindh CM issued directives to shift the injured to the Dow University Hospital, situated near the University of Karachi. He directed officials to ensure the provision of all facilities to prevent any casualties.
The chief minister has also asked the Karachi commissioner for a detailed report of the blast.
CM Shah also reached the Chinese Consulate and briefed the consul general on the explosion at the University of Karachi.
He expressed deep sorrow and grief over the demise of three Chinese nationals in the explosion and assured the consul general of a thorough probe into the blast.
Shah vowed that the suspects involved in the blast will be brought to justice. “Some conspirative elements do not like the Pakistan-China partnership,” he said, adding that the elements will be dealt with an iron hand.
The chief minister said that the government assigns great value to the services of Chinese expatriates in the country and the province.
Chinese Li Bijian thanked the chief minister for his visit and said he was in contact with the families of three Chinese nationals killed in the blast. “Whatever decision is taken in respect of shifting the dead bodies back to China would be informed to the Sindh government,” Li Bijian said.
PM SHEHBAZ CONDEMNS: Strongly condemning the explosion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives.
“I am deeply grieved on the loss of precious lives including of our Chinese friends in the heinous attack in Karachi today. My heartfelt condolences go to the bereaved families. I strongly condemn this cowardly act of terrorism. The perpetrators will surely be brought to justice,” he tweeted.