At least two civilians were killed and three paramilitary troops injured in a remote-controlled blast in the Balochistan province on Sunday, officials said.
The blast, the latest in a series of terrorist attacks targeting security forces in the mineral-rich province, occurred in Panjgur district, located some 570 kilometres (354 miles) from Quetta.
The bomb, according to the police, was planted on a motorbike parked near a security forces vehicle in a crowded area and detonated through remote control.
Terming the attack a “cowardly act,” the newly-elected Chief Minister of Balochistan Abdul Qudus Bazinjo said the culprits will be brought to justice.
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The large Balochistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighbouring Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important due to its rich copper, zinc, and natural gas reserves.
The province is also a key route of the $64 billion mega project China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to Balochistan’s Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines for cargo, oil, and gas transportation.
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With its 600-kilometre long coastline, Gwadar is an important deep seaport currently operated by China, which aims to attain direct access to the Indian Ocean via this seaport.
The economic corridor will not only provide China cheaper access to Africa and the Middle East but will also bring billions of dollars to Pakistan in the form of transit fees from the world’s second-largest economy.