Police detain 47 men for questioning over murders of 3 Chinese engineers in Pakistan

Police investigating the shooting murders of three Chinese engineers and their local driver in southwestern Pakistan detained 47 men Thursday in pre-dawn raids in villages surrounding the crime scene, an official said.

The men were taken in for questioning hours after two men on a motorbike sprayed the four victims with gunfire on Wednesday at a cement plant at Hub, a town southeast of Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province, local police chief Pervez Zahoor said.

Zahoor said police had no direct evidence linking any of the men with the crime. No charges have been filed and authorities have not blamed any specific group for the attack.

Police were uncertain whether any of the detainees belonged to the militant Baluchistan Liberation Army which purportedly claimed responsibility for the murders, Zahoor said.

Pakistan's foreign ministry described the murderers as a terrorist act calculated to "create a wedge between Pakistan and China."

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri called his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing to convey "deep sorrow and grief," according to a ministry statement issued in Islamabad on Thursday.

"The entire Pakistani nation and leadership was shocked to hear of this tragic news," Kasuri said.

He also told Li that those responsible for the crime would be brought to justice, reports the AP.

I.L.