UPDATES CONDITION OF VICTIMS; HEADLINE; DECK
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - An unknown number of gunmen shot and killed a Chinese national and injured another Monday in this southern port city, according to police.
In what appears to be the latest in a spate of attacks against Chinese in Pakistan.
The victims are believed to be involved in the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
"It seems to be a targeted attack,” according Azad Khan, a senior police official who said the pair were on an upscale street of the country’s commercial capital and that deceased died at the hospital.
Khan said Chinese in Pakistan are provided with adequate security, however, in this case, the victims were travelling without their security guards at the time of attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The CPEC project, inked in 2014, is part of Beijing’s most ambitious foreign economic initiative. One Belt One Road, that will connect northwest China to Pakistan's southwestern Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.
Once completed it will provide the shortest route for Chinese cargo destined for the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
The investment is expected to benefit Pakistan and China but one of the most serious barriers to the completion of the 2,000-kilometer (1,243-mile) corridor is Pakistan's significant security issues.
Chinese workers have been targeted killed and kidnapped in southwestern and northwestern Pakistan in the past decade, including in the area of the port in Gawadar, by Baloch separatists and Taliban militants.
Approximately 10,000 Chinese are currently working on several CPEC-related projects in Pakistan.
The separatists, buoyed by local political opposition to Chinese investment in the mineral-rich Balochistan province, claim Islamabad is stealing the resources with the help of China.
In attempting to address the security concers, the Pakistani army has created a 10,000-strong force to protect as many Chinese workers, technicians and experts working on the economic corridor projects.
Beijing is Islamabad’s largest defense and trading partner with $16 billion in trade between the two nations and plans to increase that figure up to $20 billion amid execution of CPEC.