By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The Pakistani prime minister has condemned a deadly assault by insurgents in a luxury hotel in southwestern Pakistan, saying the attack was part of an effort to “sabotage” the country’s economic development.
Pakistan’s military said that all three gunmen were killed during the hours-long shoot-out with security forces after they stormed on May 11 the Pearl Continental Hotel in the port city of Gwadar, which is being developed as part of a multibillion-dollar Chinese investment project.
Earlier reports said there had been four attackers.
The attackers failed to take any guests hostage, but the army said that four hotel employees and a Pakistani Navy soldier were killed as the insurgents stormed the building.
Six people were also wounded in the attack, including two army captains, two navy soldiers, and two hotel employees.
A Baluch separatist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it was aimed at “Chinese and other foreign investors.”
In a statement, Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “Such attempts, especially in Balochistan, are an effort to sabotage our economic projects and prosperity. We shall not allow these agendas to succeed.”
Khan praised the “initial response by security guards and security forces” for preventing greater loss of life.
The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad also strongly condemned the attack and hailed the Pakistani security forces’ “heroic” response.
The Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea is being developed as part of the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor program. The project, which includes the port, an airport, a highway, and a hospital, is intended to link China’s Xinjiang Province with the Arabian Sea.
Separatists have for years waged a low-level insurgency in oil-rich Balochistan, complaining of discrimination and demanding a fairer share of the province’s resources and wealth.
Other militant groups also operate in Balochistan.
The newly formed separatist Baloch Raji Aajoi Sangar group claimed responsibility for an April 18 attack that killed 14 passengers on a bus on a remote coastal highway in the restive province.
On April 12, a suicide bomber targeted an open-air market in Quetta, killing 20 people in an attack claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.