Three gunmen have been shot dead by security forces in Pakistan after they had stormed a five-star hotel in the restive province of Balochistan, killing at least one guard.

Officials say the attack and subsequent siege, which targeted the Zaver Pearl-Continental Hotel in the strategic port city of Gwadar, lasted several hours.

A hotel spokesman said there were no guests and few staff due to Ramadan.

The separatist Balochistan Liberation Army said it carried out the attack.

The group said that the hotel, the centre-piece of a multi-billion-dollar Chinese project, was selected in order to target Chinese and other investors.

Militants in Balochistan oppose Chinese investment, saying it is of little benefit to local people.

The hotel sits on a hilltop overlooking the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, which is being developed by China as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a network of roads, railway and pipelines between the two countries.