A Chinese national who was critically injured in Karachi on Monday when unknown suspects opened fire at his car has died, said the doctors at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

A lone gunman opened fire at 46-year-old Chen Zhu's car in Clifton near Zamzama Park, in what police have called a targeted attack. A second Chinese national travelling with him survived the attack.

Initial information suggested Chen, the managing director of a shipping firm in Karachi, and Ye Fan, a young trainee at the same company, had left their office near Beach Luxury Hotel for lunch in a Honda Civic around 1:30pm, a press release issued by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Azad Khan said.

After having lunch at China Town in Clifton, the duo went to Neelum Colony opposite Zamzama Park to purchase fruits and vegetables. They were sitting in their parked vehicle when an unidentified assailant opened fire from the front of the vehicle, critically injuring Chen, who was sitting in the driving seat.

The second person, Ye, who was sitting on the passenger seat remained unhurt. However, a 30-year-old passer-by was shot in his leg. He was shifted to the hospital along with Chen, who died during treatment at JPMC.

According to police, Chen was shot in the head twice.

"It appears to be a targeted incident," police said. Nine bullet casings fired from a 9mm pistol were recovered from the site of the attack.

Security instructions not followed: police

DIG South said the two Chinese men who were targeted in the attack were employees of Cosco Shipping Lines Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd., a non-CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] company that has been operating in Pakistan since early 1990s.

The two Chinese nationals had been provided three police guards from the Foreigners Security Cell (FSC) for their movement in the city. However, they were not carrying with them the police guard on duty today, "which is against the security instructions issued to them from time to time", said the police officer.

Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal took notice of the incident and ordered deputy inspector general south to start an inquiry into the matter.

"All measures should be taken to ensure that the suspects are arrested," the minister said.

The Sindh inspector general of police has assigned the investigation of the incident to Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) officer Raja Umer Khattab. He also directed CTD to register a first-information report of the killing.

CTD investigator Khattab, citing Forensic Science Laboratory's analysis of spent bullet casings, told DawnNews that the weapon used by the assailant 'had not been used in previous murder cases in Karachi'.

Khattab also said that surveillance cameras installed in vicinity of the incident were inoperative, which may hamper the investigation.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility of the attack.

Security alert

The incident comes nearly two months after China warned its citizens in Pakistan to be on alert after receiving intelligence reports about possible attacks targeting Chinese.

The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad said on its website in December that it had information about a “series of terror attacks” planned against Chinese organisations and personnel, without giving details. It urged its citizens to stay inside and avoid crowded places.

Thousands of Chinese workers are employed in development of about $60 billion worth of infrastructure projects under Beijing's 'Belt and Road' initiative. The port and road-building projects have come under frequent attacks in Balochistan.

The government has promised Beijing that it will deploy troops to secure the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Chinese nationals in the country.

Earlier in 2017, two Chinese nationals who were believed to be Christian missionaries were abducted from Quetta and killed by the militant Islamic State group.