Islamabad: Pakistan on Sunday condemned a brazen terrorist attack on a mountaineering camp in a remote northern region that left at least nine foreign tourists dead, saying the incident was aimed at disrupting relations with China and other friendly countries. "Those who have committed this heinous crime seem to be attempting to disrupt the growing relations of Pakistan with China and other friendly countries," said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
Officials said nine foreign tourists and two Pakistanis were killed in the attack on a camp in Diamer region of Gilgit-Baltistan on Saturday night. The attack was claimed by the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, which said it was carried out in retaliation for US drone strikes. The Foreign Office said the Prime Minister had condemned these "inhuman and cruel acts" and directed authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and apprehend the killers. The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on foreign affairs spoke to the Ambassadors of China and Ukraine, whose nationals were among the victims.
The Foreign Secretary too telephoned the Ambassadors of China and Ukraine to express condolences. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the motive behind the killing of foreign tourists at the base camp for Nanga Prabat was to "tarnish the image of Pakistan internationally". Talking to reporters after receiving the bodies of the victims at a military airbase in Rawalpindi, Khan said the terrorists wanted to send out a message to the world that Pakistan was not a safe country for foreigners but they had "failed to achieve their propose".
"The government will not only protect its citizens but also foreigners and it is evolving a strategy to tackle
(terrorism) in an effective manner," he said. Pakistan Army soldiers retrieved the bodies at the height of over 6,500 feet. Senior ministers will travel with the bodies of foreign tourists to their respective countries to express solidarity, he added.