Two Chinese language teachers kidnapped in Pakistan

Two Chinese nationals, including a woman, were abducted today by gunmen in the restive Balochistan province, an incident that would raise concerns in Beijing over the security situation in Pakistan amid China's massive investment push in the country.

Anwar ul Haq Kakar, a Balochistan government spokesman, confirmed on Wednesday that a "Chinese couple" had been kidnapped when they were coming out from a language center in Jinnah, near the global airport on the outskirts of Quetta.

The abductions happened in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Balochistan province, which is at the heart of the US$50 billion (RM213.62 billion) China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and which is wracked by separatist and Islamist insurgencies.

"Armed men took the couple into custody at gunpoint when they were coming out from the center", Cheema told Reuters.

A passerby was injured after one of the abductors opened fire at the scene.

The passerby has been identified as Muhammad Zahir.

Militants with guns abducted the pair, dragging them into a vehicle and then driving away at about noon, the broadcaster quoted the Chinese embassy in Pakistan as saying. Providing details about the incident he said that he was walking by the side of the road when he noticed three armed men pushing a Chinese woman in a white vehicle.

Acting Deputy Inspector General Police Aitzaz Goraya said: "We have collected all the evidence and our priority is to recover them unhurt as soon as possible".

China is ramping up investment in its South Asian neighbour as part of a plan unveiled in 2015 that will link its far-western Xinjiang region to Gwadar port in Balochistan with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.

It was not immediately clear if the kidnapped Chinese workers were in Pakistan on behalf of the Chinese government or one of the many state-owned enterprises working out of Pakistan.

He said the abductees were teachers at a Chinese language center.

A greater push towards peace and development by Pakistani authorities, including with CPEC, has reduced the violence considerably in recent years.

  • Leroy Wright