Pakistan will spare no effort to fully probe Dasu bus tragedy, PM Imran assures Chinese premier

Published July 16, 2021
A combination photo of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Prime Minister Imran Khan (R). — AFP/AP
A combination photo of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Prime Minister Imran Khan (R). — AFP/AP

Prime Minister Imran Khan assured China on Friday that Pakistan would spare no effort to fully investigate the Dasu bus tragedy, according to Radio Pakistan.

The state broadcaster said the prime minister held a telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, during which he assured him that the security of Chinese nationals, workers, projects and institutions in Pakistan was the top-most priority of his government.

He further assured the Chinese premier that the government was providing the best possible medical care to Chinese nationals injured in the incident.

Radio Pakistan quoted the prime minister as saying that the people of Pakistan shared the grief and pain of the families of the Dasu bus tragedy victims, which resulted in the death of 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals.

"Imran Khan expressed heartfelt condolences over the loss of precious lives of Chinese nationals caused by the tragic incident in Dasu," according to Radio Pakistan.

The prime minister told his Chinese counterpart that "Pakistan and China have an iron-clad friendship which has withstood the vicissitudes of time." He added that "no hostile forces would be allowed to damage brotherly relations between Pakistan and China."

Dasu bus tragedy

Thirteen people, including nine Chinese nationals, two personnel of the Frontier Constabulary and two locals, were killed and 28 others sustained injuries when a coach carrying them to an under-construction tunnel site of the 4,300-megawatt Dasu hydropower project fell into a ravine in the Upper Kohistan area after an explosion on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office had initially said “leakage of gas” caused by a “mechanical failure” resulted in the blast in the bus after which it plunged into the ravine.

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had termed the incident a "bombing".

The official statement issued by the Chinese embassy said the bus was “hit by blast on its way to the construction site”.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had told his Chinese counterpart that preliminary investigation into the incident revealed it was not a consequence of a terrorist attack, according to a statement on China's foreign ministry website.

But later on Thursday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said in a tweet that terrorism could not be ruled out from the Dasu bus tragedy in Kohistan, saying that initial investigations confirmed traces of explosives.

In a related development, a Chinese delegation led by Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong had visited the site of the incident on Thursday, according to a Dawn report.

Meanwhile, Beijing postponed a meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor scheduled for Friday. The meeting was to be held through a video link, the report said.

CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Asim Bajwa had announced the postponement of the meeting on Twitter.

“JCC-10 meeting on #CPEC which was scheduled to be held on 16th July 21, has been postponed to a later date after Eid. Fresh date will be shared as finalized. Meanwhile preparations continue,” he had tweeted.

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