China condemns consulate attack, asks Pakistan to ensure citizens' safety

Achhu is one of the key commanders of BLA

A concerned China on Friday asked Pakistan to step up security for thousands of Chinese working on CPEC projects after three heavily-armed gunmen stormed its consulate in Karachi, but said it "highly appreciated" Islamabad's quick response to thwart the attack. "There can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism", the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said.

"We appreciate the Pakistani army and police for their timely and proper action against the attack".

A Pakistani separatist group has claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to the news agency, Agence France-Presse.

The three suicide bombers were killed before they were able to enter the facility, the police chief of the city of Karachi said.

The corridor is a collection of roads, railway lines and infrastructure projects created to connect Western China to Pakistan's port city Gwadar, significantly cutting transport times for Chinese goods shipped to Middle East or Europe.

The attack on the consulate comes at a delicate time for relations between Pakistan and China.

The attack ended shortly after it began on Friday morning, and later video showed paramilitary forces and police rushing to cordon off the area.

The port city of Karachi is Pakistan's largest city and a financial hub.

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says both the attacks (on the Chinese consulate and in Pakistan's northwest) are part of a planned campaign to create unrest in the country by those who do not want Pakistan to prosper.

Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an inquiry into the incident, according to a statement released by his office.

The attack, claimed by separatist insurgents from the impoverished southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, killed four people, including two police. "Any attempt to undermine China-Pakistan relationship is doomed to fail", vowed the mission in a statement.

Last year, China had told Pakistan to ensure the security of its envoy following threats to his life by a terror outfit - East Turkistan Islamic Movement.

Resource-rich Balochistan is at the heart of ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). "At least I'm not a coward like many hiding behind keyboards...", he said on twitter.

Pakistan has long accused its old rival, India, of supporting the nationalist insurgents in Baluchistan, whileIndia accused Pakistan of nurturing Islamist militants throughout the region.

The assault on the consulate is particularly significant because it took place in Karachi, the commercial capital of Pakistan, rather than in the remote province where the militants are based.

Elsewhere in Pakistan on Friday, a powerful bomb at an open-air food market in the Orakzai region of the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan, killed 25 people and wounded dozens of others, said police official Tahir Ali.

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