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Leaders condole Chinese hostage's death
By Guan Xiaofeng and Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-15 09:13

Chinese engineer Wang Peng was killed and Wang Ende injured Thursday when Pakistani troops launched a rescue operation.

An Unidentified Chinese embassy official (L) escorts the freed Chinese engineer Wang Ende (R) as he arrives in Islamabad October 14, 2004. [Reuters]

Wang Ende was safe and arrived in Islamabad, Chinese embassy confirmed on Thursday.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz Thursday sent letters of condolence to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao respectively over the death of the Chinese engineer.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shukat Aziz expressed their shock and grief of the death of Wang Peng.

Musharraf conveyed his "sense of shock and heartfelt sorrow" at the episode of hostage taking involving two Chinese engineers.

He said Pakistan people and Chinese people shared the same sorrow for the death of the tragic accident though best efforts have been taken by Pakistani government to free the hostages.

Musharraf promised that Pakistani government will go all out to search and punish all murders behind the terrorist activities.

In a letter to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz promised that Pakistani side will take all necessary measures to beef up the protection of other Chinese citizens there.

The Chinese premier also talked to the Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz over phone Thursday night.

Aziz, describing Pakistan and China as friendly neighbors and saying Pakistan very much cherishes the friendship with China, told Wen that the Pakistan government undertook the operation under extremely tough situation.

The Pakistan government and people are greatly regretful and sorrowful for the death of the tragic accident, he said.

Wen said President Hu Jintao and the Chinese government attached great importance to the hostage issue, and the safety of the abducted engineers has been a concern to all Chinese people.

The Chinese people felt greatly grieved for death of one of the abducted Chinese engineers, he said, noting that the Chinese government strongly condemned the terrorist act of kidnapping Chinese citizens.

Wen hoped China and Pakistan could carry out close cooperation in handling the aftermath of the kidnapping and urged the Pakistani side to take further strong measures to ensure the safety of Chinese organizations and citizens in Pakistan.

Chinese Embassdor Called In

Also on Thursday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri called Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhang Chunxiang to express regret that the operation had not successfully rescued both hostages.

Kasuri said the Pakistani Government took action when all other rescuing efforts failed and the kidnappers could have killed the hostages at any time.

He promised to take every effective measure to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in Pakistan.

Li told Kasuri that Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao felt deep grief over the death of Wang Peng.

Pakistani FM Khurshid Kasuri (left) calls on Chinese Ambassador Zhang Chunxiang to express regret for Wang Peng's death. [Xinhua]

Zhang Qiyue, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry condemned the terrorist act.

"We noticed the efforts made by the Pakistani leaders and government to rescue the Chinese hostages," she said. "We will take more effective measures along with the Pakistani side to ensure the security of Chinese personnel in Pakistan."

All five abductors, allegedly linked to al-Qaida, were killed in a shoot-out with Pakistani troops, said a Pakistani military spokesman.

The other two hostages, a Pakistani policeman and one driver, were freed safely in the operation.

Pakistani security forces conducted the rescue operation after efforts by members of Abdullah's Mehsud tribe, including some of his relatives, failed to persuade him to order the release of the hostages.

Photo of Chinese engineer Wang Peng who was killed in the rescue operation in Pakistan western tribal belt, Oct. 14, 2004. [Xinhua]

Pakistani officials said the kidnappers threatened to blow themselves and their hostages up if a rescue attempt was made.

They said Abdullah demanded the release of several militants in government custoday and an end to military operations in the semi-autonomous tribal region, where hundreds have been killed this year in battles between Pakistani security forces and al-Qaida-linked militants.

The assault was launched at 12:00 local time after shots were heard from the compound where the hostages were being held, said military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan, Reuters reported.

"The security forces heard firing from within the compound, which created a fear that the abductors had used violence against the Chinese engineers," he said. "Immediately the security forces stormed the compound and killed all five abductors."

further effective actions to ensure that all Chinese citizens in Pakistan are safe, Li said.

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