Pakistan’s foreign minister claims spy agencies of neighboring states attempted to sow discord between Islamabad and Beijing
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday accused India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) for the bombing in Dasu that left 12 people, including nine Chinese nationals, dead in July.
“Afghanistan’s land was used in concocting the plan; the planning and execution link clearly to the RAW and NDS nexus,” he told a press conference in Islamabad. Immediately after the bombing, construction on the Dasu hydroelectric power project was stalled and has yet to resume.
Qureshi said an investigation into the tragic incident was carried out with the assistance of a 15-member Chinese security team. “The nexus cannot bear China and Pakistan’s growing cooperation and increasing Chinese investment in the country,” he claimed, adding that they had failed in their attempt.
According to the press conference, Pakistan’s investigation has traced the handlers of the incident, locating the car used. The minister claimed the probe has revealed that the terrorists’ primary target was the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, but they had chosen Dasu after failing to make much headway there.
Authorities concluded their investigation after reviewing 36 CCTV cameras along the 1,400km route that the targeted bus had traveled, said Qureshi. “We found a thumb, finger, and body parts,” he said, adding that their analysis had convinced investigators the incident was a suicide bombing. Authorities also recovered mobile phones from the bus and examined the data on them, he said.
The minister stressed that over 1,000 employees of the Dasu hydel project were scrutinized and interviewed as part of the investigation.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Counter Terrorism Department Deputy Inspector General Javed Iqbal told the press that the targeted convoy had left its base camp for Dasu at 7 a.m. on July 14. “We found parts of the car used in the incident. The finger and thumb of the alleged suicide bomber [Khalid aka Sheikh] were also recovered from the site and we did a forensic and chemical analysis of them,” he said.
The DNA of the suspect was verified with NDARA’s database, he said, but had no match on record. It was only after examining CCTV footage that they discovered a Honda Accord used in the bombing and traced it back to a showroom that informed them it had been sold in November 2020. “When we backtracked the car, it emerged that it had been transported from Afghanistan,” he said, adding that one of the mobile phones had led them to suspect Hussain, through whom they had reached suspect Ayaz and arrested him from Karachi.
Interrogation of the suspects, said Iqbal, led them to a third suspect, Tariq, who is a member of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and resides in Afghanistan. “RAW and NDS supported the people involved in the incident. Everyone in Pakistan who had planned the attack has been arrested,” he claimed, adding that in total 14 people were involved in the attack.
The banned militants, responding to the press conference, claimed they were not involved in the bombing and urged China against accepting Islamabad’s version. They also alleged that they had no conflict with China and had no desire to target any of its citizens or projects within Pakistan.