China asks Pak to guarantee safety of its nationals



Beijing: China on Sunday asked Pakistan to "guarantee the safety" of its nationals working there as it condemned a violent militant attack on a base camp in the country's north in which 10 people, including three Chinese tourists, were killed.

About 14 to 16 Taliban gunmen disguised as soldiers killed nine foreign tourists and a Pakistani guide in an unprecedented attack on a base camp at Buner Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan.

"The Foreign Ministry strongly condemned a violent attack in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that resulted in 11 deaths, including those of several Chinese tourists," state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Two Chinese nationals and one Chinese American were among the killed, according to Xinhua report.

State television said the shocking attack was reportedly carried by Pakistan Taliban and another militant group Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson's office said the Chinese embassy in Pakistan has maintained close contact with Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, Interior Department and military to further verify related information.

The embassy has asked Pakistan to make all-out efforts to take care of the survivors, apprehend the gunmen as soon as possible and take measures to guarantee the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens in Pakistan.

It also asked Pakistan to cooperate in dealing with the aftermath of the incident, as well as to severely punish the attackers.

The embassy has been in contact with a Chinese survivor and asked the Pakistani military to protect the survivor.

It said the ministry and the Chinese embassy in Pakistan have attached great importance to the incident and have launched an emergency response to deal with the issue.

It quoted local police in PoK as saying that the incident took place this morning when unidentified gunmen opened fire at tourists in a hotel near the base camp of 8,126-metre Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth highest peak that is popular among adventurous travellers.

The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan will work to properly handle the incident and offer assistance to the victims, the spokesperson's office said.

Significantly, the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement referred Gilgit-Baltistan where the attack took place as Pakistan administered Kashmir while the Xinhua report on the attack from Islamabad referred the area as Pakistan's Northern Areas.

PoK provides the geographical link between China and Pakistan.

PTI