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Attack in Gwadar an attempt to sabotage Pakistan's economic prosperity: PM

  • May 13, 2019
Attack in Gwadar an attempt to sabotage Pakistan's economic prosperity: PM
Image caption Attack in Gwadar an attempt to sabotage Pakistan's economic prosperity: PM

An attack on a luxury hotel in Gwadar was an attempt to “sabotage Pakistan’s prosperity”, PM Imran Khan said on Sunday, as authorities confirmed all the attackers had been killed. Gwadar is the heart of the Chinese backed CPEC Projects and Islamabad see the CPEC project as a vital platform to propel their woeful economy. 

At least two security guards were killed on Saturday after gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Gwadar – the centrepiece of a multi-billion dollar Chinese infrastructure project.

“Such attempts, especially in Balochistan, are an effort to sabotage our economic projects and prosperity. We shall not allow these agendas to succeed. Pakistani nation and its security forces shall defeat them all,” PM Imran said in a statement issued by his office.

The Chinese embassy in Islamabad also strongly condemned the incident. Local police said four gunmen who had stormed the hotel, shooting dead a security guard, had been killed by security forces. “All four terrorists were killed and security forces had taken complete control of the hotel building,” a local police official in Gwadar told AFP via telephone. His account was confirmed by a security source in Islamabad.

Mohammad Aslam, a police official in Gwadar, told AFP on Saturday that only staff were present in the building at the time of the attack.

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack. The BLA has targeted Chinese workers in Pakistan multiple times, including during a brazen daylight attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi which killed four people in November last year.

The Pearl Continental, part of Pakistan’s largest five-star hotel chain, is the only luxury hotel in Gwadar, frequented by foreign and Pakistani business delegations as well as diplomats.

It sits isolated on a ridge overlooking the Arabian Sea port city that was formerly a small fishing village but now touted by officials as “the next Dubai” thanks to the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, CPEC seeks to connect the western Chinese province of Xinjiang with Gwadar, with the development of the port as the plan’s flagship project.

Gwadar will provide China with safer and more direct access to the oil-rich Middle East than the waterway trade route it currently uses through the narrow Malacca Straits. Balochistan is tightly guarded by the military, who have been targeting insurgents there since 2004.

The attack was the second deadly attack in a prominent city this week after a suicide blast at one of the country’s oldest and most popular Sufi shrines killed at least 12 people in the eastern city of Lahore.

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