The Foreign Office (FO) on Monday said that the verdict in the 2021 Dasu bus attack case had demonstrated Pakistan’s “abiding commitment to counter terrorism”.
The statement from FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch comes days after an anti-terrorism court in Hazara awarded a death sentence to two men after convicting them for planning the attack.
Mohammad Hussain and Mohammad Ayaz of Matta tehsil in Swat district were charged with planning the bus bombing, which killed 13 people, including nine Chinese workers on July 14, 2021.
Responding to a question at a weekly press briefing today, Baloch said that the FO had noted the judgment passed by the relevant court and the details released by the local police.
“While specific queries may be directed to the relevant authorities, the proactive investigation, prosecution, and judgment in this case have once again demonstrated Pakistan’s abiding commitment to counterterrorism,” she said.
The spokesperson extended deepest condolences to the victims’ families and promised that Pakistan remains committed to the safety and security of Chinese workers, projects, and institutions in the country.
“The ironclad Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership will never be undermined by hostile forces,” Baloch vowed.
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 last year.
The Chinese and Pakistani nationals worked on the Dasu hydropower project in the Upper Kohistan district.
Although the Foreign Office had initially termed the incident an accident, the government later said traces of explosives had been found and that “terrorism could not be ruled out.”
China had later announced that it was sending a team to Pakistan to deal with the aftermath of the incident.
After more than a year, on November 11, ATC Hazara judge Sajjad Ahmad Jan announced judgement in the case in the Haripur prison in the presence of the accused.
After the completion of interrogation by police, the ATC had ordered the shifting of the accused to the Haripur Central Jail where they’re tried by the judge via a video link.
The prosecution’s records showed that a car carrying 100-120kg explosives hit the bus, while the bomber’s body parts suggested that he was not a Pakistani national.
The then foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, had said that the bombing was carried out by Pakistani Taliban militants backed by the Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies and that Afghan soil was used for its planning and execution.