Six killed in at­tack on Pak stock ex­change

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

KARACHI: Baloch separatist­s opened fire and hurled a grenade at the Pak­istan Stock Ex­change in Karachi yes­ter­day, au­thor­i­ties said, killing six peo­ple in­clud­ing a po­lice­man. Four se­cu­rity guards, a po­lice of­fi­cer and a by­stander were killed in the melee, while lo­cal po­lice chief Ghu­lam Nabi Me­mon said all four as­sailants were also dead. “Po­lice have re­cov­ered mod­ern au­to­matic weapons and ex­plo­sive ma­te­ri­als from the ter­ror­ists,” Karachi po­lice said in a state­ment.

The Balochis­tan Lib­er­a­tion Army (BLA) later claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity in a mes­sage

sent to AFP, say­ing an elite unit of fight­ers had car­ried out the as­sault. The separatist­s have car­ried out 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, Is­lamist and sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence for years.

The group has tar­geted in­fra­struc­ture projects and Chi­nese work­ers in Pak­istan mul­ti­ple times in re­cent years, in­clud­ing dur­ing a brazen day­light at­tack on Be­jing’s con­sulate in Karachi which 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.

Last year, the US State Depart­ment

des­ig­nated the BLA as a global ter­ror­ist group, mak­ing it a crime for any­one in the United States to as­sist the mil­i­tants and freez­ing any US as­sets they may have. Fol­low­ing yes­ter­day’s at­tack Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties vowed to strike back against at 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,” 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. Karachi was once a hotspot for crime and vi­o­lence, with heav­ily armed groups tied 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 against armed po­lit­i­cal out­fits and Is­lamist mil­i­tants.

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

— AFP

KARACHI: Po­lice­men se­cure an area around a body out­side the Pak­istan Stock Ex­change build­ing yes­ter­day.

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