QUETTA: Balochistan’s Parliamentary Secretary for Information Bushra Rind on Thursday said the detained husband of the alleged Karachi University suicide bomber claims his wife was “mentally ill”.
At least four people, including three Chinese nationals along with their Pakistani driver Khalid, were killed while four others were injured in a suicide attack outside the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute two days ago.
According to a Dawn report and other sources, CCTV footage of the attack showed a burqa-clad woman standing outside the entrance of the Confucius Institute. The woman detonated herself just as the van neared the institute’s entrance. The banned Baloch Liberation Army had later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Investigators identified the bomber as Shari Baloch, a married mother of two. On Wednesday, CTD official Raja Umar Khattab said that her husband, who he identified as Dr Haibatan, was missing and that raids were being carried out to find him and other facilitators.
Addressing a press conference in Quetta on Thursday, Bushra Rind confirmed that the husband had been arrested by law enforcement and that he made the revelation of his wife’s mental state in the course of interrogation.
She quoted the husband as saying his wife was receiving medications for her mental illness. Bushra Rind said “external forces” were attempting to involve Baloch nations in anti-national activities in a “cowardly attempt” to discredit and portray the community in a bad light. “The Baloch nation won’t be affected by such hostile conspiracies,” she vowed.
She said the suicide blast was a “tragic incident” targeting Chinese teachers and strongly condemned the attack.
A day ago, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, in a video message, had said targeting Chinese teachers outside Karachi University was “highly reprehensible” and against Baloch tradition. “This is the first time we have seen such an event,” he added. Bizenjo said the nation would emerge victorious in its fight against terrorism.
Woman graduate bomber student
A woman suicide bomber who killed three Chinese teachers in Pakistan was a teacher who had enrolled for a master’s degree months before her attack, carried out on behalf of separatist insurgents, a Pakistani official said on Wednesday.
The blast detonated by the 30-year-old woman on Tuesday blew up a minivan outside Karachi University’s Confucius Institute, a Chinese language and cultural center, killing her, the three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver.
It was the first major attack this year against nationals of long-time ally China working in Pakistan, and it drew Beijing’s condemnation.
A separatist group, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) based in the southwestern province of Balochistan, said the mother of two, who held a graduate degree in zoology and was studying for another, had volunteered for the attack targeting China, whose investment projects in Balochistan they oppose.
“Baloch Liberation Army once again warns China to immediately halt its exploitation projects … Otherwise our future attacks will be even harsher,” the BLA said in an email.
Baloch separatist guerrillas have been fighting for a greater share of their province’s natural resources for decades, mostly focusing attacks on natural gas projects, infrastructure and the security forces.
But in recent years they have attacked Chinese projects and workers. Balochistan and its deep-water port in Gwadar are a major link in China’s Belt and Road network of infrastructure and energy projects stretching to the Middle East and beyond.
For years, suicide bombing in Pakistan have been a tactic of Islamist militants, usually carried out by men or boys. The Baloch separatists said this was their first suicide attack by a woman and warned of more.
The threat of suicide attacks by the BLA will be a major worry for Pakistan as it tries to reassure China it is doing everything it can to protect its projects and people.
China’s Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the attack and demanded Pakistan punish the perpetrators and prevent such incidents happening again.
A Pakistan interior ministry official who declined to be identified said the woman, a science teacher from Balochistan, had signed up for a second master’s degree at Karachi University about five months ago.
An investigation had been launched by police and civilian and military intelligence agencies, the official said.
The acting vice chancellor of Karachi University, Nasira Khatoon, expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the blast victims and said the campus would remain closed on Wednesday.
“We hope that the government will punish the elements involved … and believe that every possible step will be taken to reach the elements behind the attack,” she said.
High-level probe team
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon on Wednesday formed a high-level team to probe the suicide bombing in Karachi that claimed four lives three Chinese nationals and one Pakistani citizen.
Four people including three Chinese nationals were killed while several others were injured as a van caught fire after an explosion near Confucius Institute at University of Karachi Tuesday afternoon.
According to the notification, the DIGP of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) was appointed as the Convener of the four-member investigation committee while SSP Malir Irfan Bahadur, SSP East Abdul Rahim Sheerazi and SSP AVCC Zubair Naseer will be members of the team.
The four-member team, constituted by Karachi police chief under the DIGP CIA, has been directed to ensure that concrete efforts are made to help the CTD team and report progress on regular basis.
Following the attack, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the Chinese embassy in Islamabad and extended condolence over the death of Chinese nationals in the Karachi blast.
Talking to Chinese Charge dAffaires Pang Chunxue, he assured that the terrorist attack would be investigated expeditiously and the perpetrators brought to justice.
Expressing sorrow and grief over the death of Chinese nationals in a van blast at Karachi University, PM Shehbaz said the entire Pakistani nation was in shock over the brutal attack.
He said the people of Pakistan extended their heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the government, people and families of the victims. He reiterated Pakistans determination to eradicate all forms of terrorism and terrorists from its soil.
China demands thorough probe
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attack and “demanded” Pakistan punish the perpetrators, protect Chinese citizens and prevent such incidents from happening again.
“The blood of the Chinese people should not be shed in vain, and those behind this incident will surely pay the price,” it said in a statement.
China also extended condolences to the victims and sympathies to the families of the injured and bereaved.
“The Chinese side expresses strong condemnation and indignation over this major terrorist attack and extends deep condolences to the victims and sympathies to the injured and bereaved families,” the ministry quoted a spokesperson as saying in a separate statement issued Wednesday.
“On the afternoon of April 26, a van of the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi was hit by a suicide terrorist attack. So far, the incident has left three Chinese teachers dead and one injured. There are also casualties on the Pakistani side,” he said.
The spokesperson said Beijing and its mission in Pakistan had activated the emergency response mechanism immediately after the incident.
Pakistan Foreign Office
“The Chinese embassy in Pakistan and consulate-general in Karachi are working with the Pakistani side to deal with the follow-up matters of the casualties,” the foreign ministry spokesperson said.
He also mentioned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to the Chinese embassy in Islamabad on Tuesday evening, saying that the premier had conveyed his condolences and the Pakistan government would conduct an “in-depth probe” into the incident, “give exemplary punishment to the perpetrators and strengthen the security of Chinese personnel, projects and institutions in Pakistan in an all-round way”.
The spokesperson quoted PM Shehbaz as saying that the Pakistan government would “never allow any force to undermine the Pakistan-China friendship”.
Financial relief for family of slain driver
Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab announced financial relief of Rs1 million for the heirs of the van driver killed in the terrorist attack.
Wahab visited the family of the driver, Muhammad Khalid Nawaz, on Wednesday and offered his condolences. He assured them the provincial government was standing with them during this difficult time.
The Sindh government will make arrangements for educating the children of the deceased and will sponsor them, he said. “There is no substitute for human life. This financial aid is a small effort to cure the suffering of the affected family. Terrorism is a cancer that must be eradicated,” he added.
Wahab also said that the provincial government was taking steps to provide security to citizens, adding that security arrangements at KU would be made more stringent so that such incidents could be avoided.
The family of the slain driver also made a request for his body to be identified as soon as possible so that the burial could take place. Wahab assured them of his full cooperation in this regard.
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah Khan vowed on Wednesday to use all means to hunt and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Karachi suicide attack which targeted a Chinese delegation.
His statement came a day after a suspected female suicide bomber killed three Chinese teachers in the provincial metropolis, in the first major attack this year against nationals of Islamabad’s long-time ally working in Pakistan.
The three were among passengers on a minibus returning to the University of Karachi after a lunch break when the bomb exploded at the entrance to the institute’s Confucius Institute, killing the Chinese teachers and a local, police and officials said.