- Foreign Minister Qureshi says preliminary investigation shows that it is an accident and no background of terrorist attacks has been found
- Pakistan will do its utmost to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel in Pakistan, FM adds
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has conveyed to his Chinese counterpart that as per the preliminary investigation, the bus accident near Dasu hydropower project in the Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) was not a terrorist attack.
Qureshi met Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dushanbe on July 14, according to a statement on China's foreign ministry website.
During the meeting, Wang expressed his shock at the tragic accident and hoped that Pakistan will find out its cause, and will immediately arrest and punish those responsible.
"If it is a terrorist attack, the criminals must be immediately arrested and severely punished. Lessons should be learned from the incident, and the security measures for China-Pakistan cooperation projects should be further strengthened to ensure the safe and smooth operation of all projects," the statement quoted the Chinese FM as saying.
However, Qureshi told his counterpart that preliminary investigation shows that it was an accident and no background of terrorist attacks has been found.
"Pakistan will spare no effort to rescue and treat the wounded, thoroughly investigate the truth of the incident, lose no time in sharing the progress of the investigation with China, and do its utmost to ensure the safety of Chinese personnel in Pakistan," Qureshi told Wang.
He continued that China is Pakistan's most important friend and most reliable partner, and China's loss is Pakistan's loss.
On Wednesday, nine Chinese nationals and three Pakistanis lost their lives when their bus plunged into a ravine after a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast, a statement by the Foreign Office said.
A senior administrative officer of the Hazara region told Reuters that the bus was carrying more than 30 Chinese engineers to the site of the Dasu dam in Upper Kohistan.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion investment plan under Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative that is aimed at connecting western China to the Gwadar seaport in southern Pakistan.