Three members of the India-backed Baloch Liberation Army launched an attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan on Friday (November 23).
The militants first threw a hand grenade and opened fire when they were intercepted by the security personnel at a checkpoint while trying to enter the consulate from the Visa Section. The militants were killed by the security forces.
"The BLA claims responsibility for this attack. Three of our fighters have raided the consulate," BLA spokesperson Jihand Baloch told Al Jazeera via satellite phone from an undisclosed location while the raid was ongoing.
Baloch said the fighters were members of the Fidayeen Majeed Brigade, a new force raised by the group to carry out suicide attacks against Pakistani security forces and Chinese targets.
"The objective of this attack is clear: we will not tolerate any Chinese military expansionist endeavors on Baloch soil," the BLA said in a statement.
The group released an image of three young men - Azal Khan, Raziq Baloch and Raees Baloch - it said were the militants who attacked the consulate. A later tweet confirmed that they had been killed.
Balochistan, Pakistan's largest and least populated province, will see a number of new roads and a port constructed under the $56 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an infrastructure and energy corridor that sees southwestern China linked to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan.
The BLA and other armed Baloch separatist groups have frequently targeted Chinese personnel since the launch of CPEC, terming the project an "imperialist" endeavor.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who recently visited China, said Friday's attack would not undermine the Pakistan-China relationship, which he described as "mightier than Himalayas and deeper than Arabian Sea".
The PM later tweeted saying that today's attacks in Karachi and Orakzai were "part of a planned campaign to create unrest in the country by those who do not want Pakistan to prosper. Let there be no doubt in anyone's mind that we will crush the terrorists, whatever it takes."
"The failed attack against the Chinese Consulate was clearly a reaction to the unprecedented trade agreements that resulted from our trip to China. The attack was intended to scare Chinese investors and undermine the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. These terrorists will not succeed," he added.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China would not waver in its latest big project in Pakistan -- the CPEC -- and expressed confidence that Pakistan could ensure security.
It is a common knowledge that the Baloch separatists receive funds from India for carrying out subversive activities in Pakistan.
In March 2016, Pakistan arrested an Indian operative Kulbhushan Yadav who was imparting Naval fighting training to Baloch separatists in an attempt to target Pakistani ports.
During interrogation it was revealed that Yadav had purchased boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar in order to target Karachi and Gwadar ports in a terrorist plot.
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