Rescue workers and police arrive after an explosion at a luxury hotel in Quetta, Pakistan on April 21, 2021 Reuters
Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing
A car bomb exploded Wednesday night in the parking lot of a luxury hotel in Quetta, southwest Pakistan, killing four and injuring 11, officials said.
The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan was staying at the hotel, but was not there when the bomb exploded, Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said.
Provincial Interior Minister Ziaullah Lango said the envoy was fine.
“An explosion rocked the parking lot of the Serena Hotel,” police official Nasir Malik told Reuters, saying 11 people were injured. A local civilian hospital official, Waseem Baig, said four people had died and “several others are in critical condition.”
“A car full of explosives exploded in the hotel,” Ahmad told local ARY News television.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
“It was a suicide bombing in which our suicide bomber used his car filled with explosives in the hotel,” a spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group wrote in a message. text to a Reuters reporter.
Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong had met with Provincial Chief Minister Jam Kamal in the city earlier today, according to a tweet from provincial government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani.
Lango told reporters: “I just met him. He is in a good mood,” adding that the envoy would end his visit to Quetta on Thursday.
The Chinese Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
The well-fortified hotel is next to the Iranian consulate and the provincial parliament building. Quetta is the capital of the mineral-rich southwestern province of Balochistan on the border of Iran and Afghanistan, which has long been the scene of a low-intensity insurgency by local nationalists, who want a greater share of regional resources.
The province is home to the newly expanded deep-water port of Gwadar, which is the key to a planned $ 65 billion investment in China’s Belt and Road Initiative economic corridor.
It was not clear whether the envoy or members of his delegation were the target of the attack, but Chinese nationals and their interests in the region have already been attacked by Taliban militants and nationalist insurgents.