Blast kills Chinese nationals in Pakistani city

Three Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in an explosion in the southern city of Karachi, police say.

The blast ripped through their van, injuring at least four others near the university’s Confucius Institute.

Police have yet to determine the cause of the blast – but the separatist Baloch Liberation Army said the van was attacked by a female suicide bomber.

The group opposed Chinese investment in Pakistan, saying locals do not benefit.

If confirmed, it would be the first time an attack by the group has been carried out by a female militant.

The group has targeted Chinese nationals on a number of occasions, as has the Pakistani Taliban.

China was heavily involved in large infrastructural projects across Pakistan, including resource-rich Balochistan province.

As Pakistan detained an alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, Ahmed Rashid argued that Pakistan needed a broader, better co-ordinated strategy from state institutions and a willingness to face the unpleasant truths if it really wanted to curb resurgent extremism.

Pakistan was faced with a renewed threat of rising Islamic extremism, vigilantism, attacks on minorities and a reluctance to face these threats were internally rather than externally inspired.

Also missing was the lack of a comprehensive narrative against extremism, articulated unanimously by all bodies of the state and civil society.

The result of the failure to push forward a clear counter-terrorism and counter-extremism narrative that embraced the entire public domain was that some extremist groups continued to be tolerated by elements of the state.

Just over two years ago, on  December 16, 2014, an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar which killed 150 people – the majority of them children – galvanised the civilian government, opposition parties and the military to articulate the need for a comprehensive counter-terrorism plan.

For the first time there emerged a 20-point National Action Plan – a list of pointers of what needed to be done, endorsed by the military and all political parties.

However, the 20 points were never turned into a comprehensive winning strategy or a common narrative and the fight against extremism had diminished ever since.

The army’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched six months earlier, had cleared out North Waziristan, a key staging area for dozens of militant groups – many of them foreigners. -BBC

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