QUETTA: A car bomb exploded late Wednesday, breaking into the parking lot of a luxury hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, killing four people and injuring 11, officials said.
China’s ambassador to Pakistan was staying at the hotel, but was not there when the bomb exploded, Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said.
Provincial Interior Minister Ziaullah Lango said the envoy is fine.
“An explosion shook the parking area of the Serena Hotel,” police official Nasir Malik, who said 11 people were injured, told Reuters. An official at a local civilian hospital, Waseem Baig, said four people had died and “several others were in critical condition.”
“A car full of explosives exploded in the hotel,” Ahmad told the local ARY news TV.
Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.
“It was a suicide attack in which our suicide bomber used his car full of explosives in the hotel,” said a spokesman for the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) wrote in a text message to a Reuters reporter.
Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong met earlier this day with Provincial Chief Minister Jam Kamal in the city, according to a tweet from provincial government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani.
Lango told reporters, “I just met him. He is very moved,” adding that the envoy would complete his visit to Quetta on Thursday.
Embassy of China did not respond to a request for comment.
The well-fortified hotel is located next to the Iranian Consulate and the provincial parliament building. Quetta is the mineral-rich southwestern capital Balochistan province bordering Iran and Afghanistan, which has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency of local nationalists, who want more of their regional resources.
The province is hosting the new expanded port of Gwadar, which is key to a planned $ 65 billion investment in the economic corridor of the China Belt and Road Initiative.
It was unclear whether the envoy or members of his delegation were the target of the attack, but Chinese citizens and their interests in the region were attacked before Taliban militants and nationalist insurgents.