Islamabad: Two Chinese nationals, including a woman, were abducted today by gunmen in the restive Balochistan province, an incident that would raise concerns in Beijing over the security situation in Pakistan amid China's massive investment push in the country.
The two were abducted from Jinnah Town area of provincial capital Quetta.
According to witnesses, four unidentified men tried to abduct three of the foreigners, two women and a man. However, a passerby helped one of the women escape, local reports said.
Abductors forced the two into a vehicle at gunpoint and drove away. The woman was reported to be a teacher.
A passerby was injured after one of the abductors opened fire at the scene.
Chinese state media confirmed the kidnapping.
An official from the Chinese embassy in Islamabad told state-run Xinhua news agency that they were trying to know more details about the incident as well as about the abducted persons. The official also said that the embassy has urged the Pakistani side to rescue the abductees as quickly as possible.
Police and Frontier Corps personnel reached the scene of the abduction to initiate an investigation.
Jinnah Town is one of the affluent residential areas of the city where many Chinese NGOs teach mandarin.
Acting Deputy Inspector General Police Aitzaz Goraya said: "We have collected all the evidence and our priority is to recover them unhurt as soon as possible. We have blocked all roads and are carrying out search operations.
Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri has ordered an immediate inquiry into the abduction. He directed the Balochistan Inspector General of Police to take immediate steps for an early recovery of the Chinese workers.
He further directed to design a standard operating procedure for ensuring the security of foreigners working in the province.
No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping yet.
Chinese interest in Balochistan has spiked in recent years after the announcement of the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which plans to connect the Pakistani port of Gwadar to Xinjiang in China.
In the past, China has asked Islamabad to improve security, especially in Balochistan, where it is building the Gwadar Port and funding roads as part of the CPEC.
Published Date: May 24, 2017 20:59 PM | Updated Date: May 24, 2017 21:01 PM