Volunteers carry an injured victim on a stretcher at the site of an explosion in Quetta on April 21, 2021
PC : Reuters

A deadly blast at a luxury hotel rocked the Balochistan city of Quetta late on Wednesday. The blast killed at least four people. Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told AFP that a Chinese delegation led by the ambassador was lodging in the hotel.

Quetta is capital of Pakistani province of Balochistan where Pakistan military has been fighting a decade-long low-level insurgency.

“At least four people have been killed and 12 others were injured,” Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told AFP, describing it as “an act of terrorism”.

“The ambassador was out for a meeting when the explosion took place,” he added.

Balochistan is poor despite its natural resources — a source of great anger to residents who complain they do not receive a fair share of the gas and mineral wealth.

The resentment has increased after CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) projects that locals allege have very little benefit to them as jobs went to outsiders.

Azhar Ikram, a senior police official in the city, confirmed the death toll and said that the Chinese ambassador was staying at the hotel, but was not present at the time of the blast.

“Initial probe suggests it was an IED planted in one of the vehicles,” Ikram said.
No group immediately claimed the attack.

In 2019 gunmen stormed a luxury hotel overlooking a flagship CPEC project — the deep-water seaport in Gwadar that gives China strategic access to the Arabian Sea — killing at least eight people.

And in June, Baloch insurgents targeted the Pakistan Stock Exchange, which is partly owned by Chinese companies.

All the attacks were claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army.

(With inputs from agencies)