Islamabad, Jul 15 (EFE).- The government of Pakistan on Thursday said that traces of explosives had been found in the bus in which 13 people including nine Chinese engineers had been killed in a blast, despite having ruled out earlier that it was an attack.
“Initial investigations into Dasu incident have now confirmed traces of explosives,” Pakistan’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted a day after the incident.
He admitted that terrorism cannot be ruled out as a motive behind the incident.
The incident took place on Wednesday morning when an explosion took place in a bus that was carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the construction site of the Dasu Hydraulic Power Project, a dam being built since 2018 in partnership with Chinese companies, in the Upper Kohistan region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The blast led to the bus plunging into a ravine and the death of 13 people, including 9 Chinese and four locals, while at least 25 others were wounded.
After the police initially said the incident could be an attack, the Pakistani foreign ministry insisted on Wednesday evening in a statement that it was “a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast.”
The Chinese embassy in Pakistan had simply said that the bus had “suffered” an explosion while heading to the dam.
The Dasu dam is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project financed by Beijing with more than $60-billion in investment.
The CPEC, launched in 2015, finances the construction of a trade route that will connect the city of Kashgar, in northwest China’s Xinjiang province, with the Pakistani port of Gwadar.
Gwadar is located in Baluchistan and will pave the way for China to access the Arabian sea.