KARACHI: China’s foreign minister on Thursday rejected reports that a man gunned down in a dental clinic in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi was a Chinese national.
An armed man, posing as a patient at a dental clinic in Karachi on Wednesday shot dead Ronald Raimond Chao and injured Dr. Richad Hu, 50, and his wife Margaret Hu, 45. Pakistani police said the couple ran the clinic where the incident took place.
A First Information Report (FIR) lodged at Karachi’s Preedy police station said the victims were Pakistanis of Chinese descent. However, the media reported the deceased and the wounded couple were Chinese-Pakistani dual nationals.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Asif Aijaz Shaikh also told media Dr. Richard and his wife were dual nationals who were living in Karachi since the last four to five decades.
“We express condolences for the victim and sympathies to the injured. To my knowledge, the victim you mentioned was not a Chinese citizen,” Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, told media during a press briefing.
Raja Umar Khattab, head of the Transnational Terrorists Intelligence Group (TTIG) of Karachi CTD, said the attack had been claimed by the Sindhudesh People’s Army militant group. Khattab said he believed the group had been formed recently.
“Sindhudesh People’s Army is believed to be an alliance of Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army and Baloch National Army. The organization, according to my information, has been formed days before the attack,” he said.
Chinese nationals have frequently been attacked by separatist groups from Pakistan’s impoverished, southern Balochistan province. Beijing is involved in huge infrastructure projects in Balochistan which are part of its Belt and Road Initiative.
Pakistani officials have expressed fears in the past of growing links between Sindhi separatists and militant groups from insurgency-racked Balochistan. Sindhi separatists, who want the southern Sindh province to break away from Pakistan's federation, have launched low-intensity attacks against the state over the years.
In April, a female suicide bomber of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) group attacked the Confucius Institute at Karachi University. Three Chinese language teachers and their Pakistani driver were killed in the blast.
Last year, a suicide bomber blew up a passenger bus, killing 13 people. Of these, nine were Chinese nationals working on the Dasu Hydropower project in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.