Rescue workers and onlookers gather around a wreck after a bus plunged into a ravine following a bomb explosion, which killed 12 people including 9 Chinese workers, in Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on July 14 (AFP)
NEW DELHI: China has postponed a crucial meeting with Pakistan on CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) after a blast on a bus killed 9 Chinese nationals.
Meanwhile, amid Pakistan’s flip-flops on what really was behind the explosion, a Chinese team will arrive in Pakistan to assist in the probe, Chinese media reported quoting foreign ministry officials.
The explosion on Wednesday in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province occurred on a bus that was carrying workers to an under-construction hydroelectric project. 13 people were killed in the blast, including 9 Chinese workers.
Confusion reigned following conflicting versions of the event coming from different quarters within the Pakistani government. Federal minister Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry clearly pointed at terrorism, and confirmed that traces of explosives have been found on the bus.
However just hours later, Pakistan foreign ministry issued a statement, calling it an accident caused by a mechanical failure, resulting in a gas leak that triggered the explosion.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang spoke to Pakistan PM Imran Khan, and urged him to hold accountable the culprits in what he described as a “terrorist attack,” state media said on Friday.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that a cross-department workgroup will be visiting Pakistan to assist in the probe, Global Times reported. The probe is being allowed even though the Imran Khan government has repeatedly stated that it won’t allow foreign security set up on its land.
On Thursday, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan visited the injured in the hospital. He urged that the truth of the incident be found, and he called for severe punishment for anyone responsible.
The postponed CPEC meeting is now likely to he held after Eid, said project chief Major General Asim Bajwa.