At least 12 persons, including nine Chinese engineers and two Frontier Corps personnel, died and several others were injured in a bus “blast” near the Dasu hydropower plant in the Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Kohistan Deputy Commissioner Arif Khan Yousafzai said that the explosion took place in a bus carrying Chinese people who were working on Dasu Hydropower project in Barseen, Kohistan. He said the reason of the explosion hadn’t been determined as yet.
A total of 41 passengers were on board the ill-fated bus among whom the majority were of the Chinese engineers who were working on the Dasu Dam.
Initial reports from officials on what caused the deaths appeared conflicting; however, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, termed it a “cowardly attack” and said that it would “not divert attention from the special initiatives between Pakistan and its neighbours”.
Condemning the attack, Awan said that he will ask Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to give a briefing on the country’s security situation and take this house into confidence regarding the incident.
Hours later, the Foreign Office contradicted reports of an attack, saying that the bus “plunged into a ravine after a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast”. The FO also put the death toll at 12, including 9 Chinese nationals, up from earlier reports of 10 deaths.