Four killed in at­tack on Pak­istan Stock Ex­change

Iran Daily - - Internatio­nal -

Baloch separatist­s opened fire and hurled a grenade at the Pak­istan Stock Ex­change in Karachi Mon­day, au­thor­i­ties said, killing four peo­ple in­clud­ing a po­lice­man.

Three se­cu­rity guards were killed in the melee, while lo­cal po­lice chief, Ghu­lam Nabi Me­mon, said all four as­sailants were shot dead, AFP wrote.

“Po­lice have re­cov­ered modern au­to­matic weapons and ex­plo­sive ma­te­ri­als” from the as­sailants,” Karachi po­lice said in a state­ment.

The city’s po­lice force had ear­lier said six peo­ple died in the fire­fight but later re­vised the fig­ure. A Karachi hos­pi­tal where the bod­ies were taken con­firmed the new death toll.

Pak­istan’s mil­i­tary praised the swift re­sponse of the city’s se­cu­rity forces, while the Karachi po­lice re­leased a video of one mem­ber from a pro­vin­cial se­cu­rity unit describing the fire­fight.

“I shot one of them dead .... The sec­ond guy saw me and... he took out a grenade. I shot him twice in his hand and his weapon fell down. I then shot him in the head as he tried to pull out the grenade pin,” said Mo­ham­mad Rafiq, a mem­ber of an elite pro­vin­cial rapid re­sponse team.

The video of the of­fi­cer was shared widely on­line, with so­cial me­dia users call­ing Rafiq a hero.

The Balochis­tan Lib­er­a­tion Army (BLA) claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity in a mes­sage sent to AFP, say­ing an elite unit of fighters had car­ried out the as­sault.

The separatist­s have launched a string of high-pro­file at­tacks across the coun­try in re­cent years – in­clud­ing in the south­ern port city.

The BLA is one of sev­eral in­sur­gent groups fight­ing pri­mar­ily in Pak­istan’s south­west­ern Balochis­tan prov­ince, which has been rocked by separatist, ex­trem­ist and sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence for years.

The group has tar­geted in­fra­struc­ture projects and Chi­nese work­ers in Pak­istan mul­ti­ple times in re­cent years, in­clud­ing a brazen day­light at­tack on Bei­jing’s Con­sulate in Karachi that killed four peo­ple in 2018.

In May last year, the BLA at­tacked a lux­ury ho­tel near the Afghan bor­der at Gwadar, where a port de­vel­op­ment is the flag­ship project of a multi-bil­lion dol­lar na­tional in­fra­struc­ture project funded by China.

Thou­sands of Pak­ista­nis have lost their lives in bomb­ings and other mil­i­tant at­tacks since 2001, when Is­lam­abad en­tered into an al­liance with the US in Wash­ing­ton’s so-called war on ter­ror.

Fol­low­ing Mon­day’s at­tack Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties vowed to strike back against any group found re­spon­si­ble for the on­slaught, promis­ing to dis­man­tle their net­works and de­stroy their bases.

“An in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been launched and very soon we will reach their mas­ter­minds,” the in­te­rior min­is­ter, Ijaz Ah­mad Shah, said in a video mes­sage posted af­ter the at­tack.

Busi­ness con­tin­ued as usual at the Karachi stock ex­change af­ter the at­tack.

“Trad­ing is smooth and con­tin­u­ing. PSX bench­mark in­dex one of the Best Per­former in Asia to­day so far,” tweeted Mo­hammed So­hail, a bro­ker at the ex­change.

For a while af­ter the at­tack the bod­ies of at least two gun­men could be seen in a pool of blood near the ex­change’s en­trance.

Karachi was once a hotspot for crime and vi­o­lence, with heav­ily-armed groups linked to politi­cians fre­quently gun­ning down op­po­nents and launch­ing at­tacks on res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

But the sit­u­a­tion has largely sta­bi­lized in re­cent years fol­low­ing op­er­a­tions by se­cu­rity agen­cies.

Mil­i­tant groups still re­tain the abil­ity to launch pe­ri­odic at­tacks in many ru­ral ar­eas and oc­ca­sion­ally in ur­ban cen­ters.

Mon­day’s at­tack comes more than a week af­ter a grenade was thrown at a line of peo­ple wait­ing out­side a gov­ern­ment wel­fare of­fice in the city, killing one and in­jur­ing eight oth­ers, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties.

AKHTAR SOOMRO/REUTERS

The Pak­istan Stock Ex­change build­ing is re­flected in the bul­let rid­dled win­dow of the se­cu­rity check post af­ter an at­tack in Karachi, Pak­istani, on June 29, 2020.

AFP Po­lice­men guard a car used by gun­men out­side the Pak­istan Stock Ex­change build­ing in Karachi on June 29, 2020.

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