- Foreign Office says cowardly incident a direct attack on Pakistan-China friendship and ongoing cooperation
The Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday "strongly condemned the reprehensible terrorist attack" in Karachi which claimed innocent lives including those of Chinese nationals, saying that "the cowardly incident is a direct attack on the Pakistan-China friendship and ongoing cooperation."
"Pakistan and China are close friends and iron brothers. Pakistan attaches great importance to the safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects, and institutions in Pakistan," the FO statement said.
"The government and people of Pakistan extend their deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of victims who lost their lives in the incident."
It further said that the law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice, adding that local authorities are also providing all possible assistance to the injured.
The response from the FO comes hours after a suicide blast killed at least four people, including three Chinese nationals, and injured two others.
A van carrying staff from the Confucius Institute at Karachi University was targeted in the attack.
Television footage first showed a white van in flames and windows of nearby buildings shattered.
Karachi police confirmed four people had died, including the minibus driver and three staff from the Confucius Institute, the cultural and educational programme that China operates at universities around the world.
The banned Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed grief over the blast.
"I am deeply grieved on the loss of precious lives including of our Chinese friends in the heinous attack in Karachi today," he tweeted.
"I strongly condemn this cowardly act of terrorism. The perpetrators will surely be brought to justice."