PM Imran slams Gwadar hotel attack as bid to damage economy

Updated May 12, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday described yesterday's attack targeting the Gwadar Pearl Continental Hotel as a bid to "sabotage prosperity" in the area, as police confirmed all the attackers had been killed. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Twitter/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday described yesterday's attack targeting the Gwadar Pearl Continental Hotel as a bid to "sabotage prosperity" in the area, as police confirmed all the attackers had been killed. — Photo courtesy Imran Khan Twitter/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday described yesterday's attack targeting the Gwadar Pearl Continental Hotel as a bid to "sabotage prosperity" in the area, as police confirmed all the attackers had been killed.

The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army had claimed responsibility for the attack in which at least three people were killed and four others injured by a handful of gunmen who stormed the luxury hotel in Gwadar, the centrepiece of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Prime Minister Imran in a statement issued by PM Office today said that "such attempts, especially in Balochistan, are an effort to sabotage our economic projects and prosperity. We shall not allow these agendas to succeed".

The Chinese embassy in Islamabad also strongly condemned the incident.

'The next Dubai'

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 is now touted by officials as "the next Dubai" thanks to 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 there as a 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.

CPEC has drawn the ire of separatists who complain that Balochistan does not receive its due share of resources from the Centre.

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. At the time, the BLA had branded Beijing "an oppressor".

The attack was the second deadly attack in a prominent city this week, after a suicide blast claimed by a lesser-known faction of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan at the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore, in which 12 individuals lost their lives.