PKonweb Report — The Chinese embassy in Pakistan capital Islamabad on Wednesday confirmed that two Chinese nationals were kidnapped by unknown armed men in the country’s southwest Quetta city of Balochistan province earlier in the day.
An official from the embassy told Xinhua that they are trying to know more details about the incident as well as about the abducted persons, adding that they have urged the Pakistani side to rescue the abductees as quickly as possible.
The kidnappers forced the abductees into a vehicle at gunpoint and drove away, local media quoted Deputy Inspector General of Quetta police as saying.
The kidnapped, including a man and a woman, were returning from a restaurant when the incident happened in the affluent Jinnah Town neighborhood of Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, local media reported.
The kidnappers were initially taking away three Chinese including two women and the man, but a passerby helped one of the women escape, local reports said.
The passerby got injured in a shootout, who has been shifted to a nearby hospital where police recorded his statement for investigation.
The Chinese nationals were based in Quetta to teach Mandarin and learn the local language, reported VOA News.
Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri took notice of the incident and directed police to search the abductees. A search operation has been kicked off in the area.
He further directed to design a standard operating procedure for ensuring the security of foreigners working in the province.
On his direction, a heavy contingent of police has been deployed at all entry and exit points of the city for checking.
No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping yet.
China’s ambassador to Pakistan and other officials have urged Islamabad to improve security, especially in Balochistan, as it is building a new port in Gwadar and funding roads as part of the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will connect western China with Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast in Balochistan.
Express Tribune adds: Anwarul Haq Kakar, a provincial government spokesperson, said men pretending to be police officers kidnapped the Chinese teachers and wounded a passerby who tried to stop them.
“A Chinese couple has been kidnapped,” he said, adding that officials had earlier mistaken the wounded passerby for a security guard.
“[The passerby] inquired why they were doing this and they said they were from a law enforcement agency, but when he asked for their identification cards, they shot him,” added Kakar.
Passer-by Muhammad Zahir who got injured told AFP: “I was walking on the road when I saw three men forcing a Chinese woman in a white car and she was refusing and crying, I stopped to observe the situation but they had forced the woman in the car by then and were pushing the man.