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Reacting to the suicide attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which killed six people, including five Chinese nationals, on Tuesday, Amjad Ayub Mirza, a political activist from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), said that the attack signifies that the Pakistani Army is losing control in the region and Baloch fighters are growing in strength.

“Let us not forget that this is not the first time that the Chinese have been targeted on this route. In 2021, there was a suicide attack on a bus and nine Chinese engineers had lost lives, resulting in the escalation of discomfort between China and Pakistan,” Amjad said.

On March 26, the Chinese nationals who were reportedly going to Dasu camp from Islamabad were hit by the explosive-filled car. The attack came hours after Baloch rebels attacked a naval base.

“This attack is very significant as it seems to be a sub contract job, like one organisation has given the task to another organisation to execute the task. For instance, the Baloch Liberation Army or other organisations could have sub-contracted the other organisations like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to execute the attack,” the PoK activist further said.

Notably, Chinese nationals working on different projects are often threatened by armed groups in Pakistan.

“We are seeing growing intensification of attacks on Chinese assets. These coordinated attacks signify two things. First it signifies that the Pakistani Army is losing control in the region. Second, it signifies the growing strength and resilience of Baloch fighters. I think this is the final phase of the Baloch struggle”, Amjad added.

Geo News reported, citing Malakand’s deputy inspector general of police (DIG) on Tuesday that a suicide bomber crashed his vehicle full of explosives into the car in which the Chinese nationals were travelling.

Five Chinese nationals were killed in the attack. A Pakistani driver sustained injuries and was shifted to a local hospital, but he too succumbed to his wounds.

The Chinese nationals were engineers who were going to Dasu camp, Kohistan from Islamabad, the official added.

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan has demanded “thorough investigations” into the attack and “severe punishment” for the perpetrators.

“The Chinese embassy and consulates in Pakistan have immediately launched emergency work, demanding that the Pakistani side conduct a thorough investigation into the attack, severely punish the perpetrators and take practical and effective measures to protect the safety of Chinese citizens,” the embassy said in a statement.