By Syed Raza Hassan KARACHI, Pakistan, Feb 6 (Reuters) – A senior Chinese shipping company executive was shot dead in the violence-plagued Pakistani financial hub of Karachi on Monday in what police described as a targeted attack.
While there was no claim of responsibility and the motive was not immediately clear, China in December warned its nationals in Pakistan of plans for imminent attacks on Chinese targets.
China’s presence is growing in Pakistan as Beijing has pledged $57 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship “Belt and Road” project that first focused on Chinese firms building roads and power stations but is now expanding to include setting up industries.
The man, identified as Chen Zhu, 45, was in his car when he was attacked in an upmarket area of the port city of Karachi.
At least 10 shots were fired at the car and Chen suffered a single bullet wound in the head, police said.
“The incident appears to be targeted attack, (it) doesn’t look like a mugging,” Azad Khan, deputy inspector general of Karachi’s south zone, told Reuters.
Chen was the Pakistan general manager of Cosco Shipping Lines Co, a company spokeswoman said, adding that the cause of the attack was unclear.
“The company has taken steps, first to ensure the safety of our staff overseas; secondly to inform the family so that they can go and make funeral arrangements; and thirdly, we immediately contacted the local consulate and embassy to get their assistance,” the spokeswoman said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing the Chinese consulate had asked the Pakistani police to bring the killer to justice.
Tens of thousands of Chinese nationals have come to Pakistan, but the new arrivals face dangers, creating a headache for Pakistani security officials.
Islamic State’s abduction and killing last June of two Chinese nationals in the southwestern province of Baluchistan highlighted the security risks that have put off many Western companies.
Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, still has a reputation for gang shootings and other violence, despite a paramilitary crackdown that began in 2013 and sharply reduced killings.
(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Additional reporting by Shanghai newsroom and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Nick Macfie)