At least 8 killed in Pak­istan stock ex­change at­tack

Balochis­tan Lib­er­a­tion Army claims re­spon­si­bil­ity for deadly as­sault

Arab News - - News Internatio­nal - Naimat Khan, Khur­shid Ahmed Karachi

At least eight peo­ple have died and seven were in­jured after shots were fired by gun­men at the Pak­istan Stock Ex­change (PSX) in Karachi on Mon­day, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials said.

All four at­tack­ers were re­port­edly killed. A po­lice of­fi­cer and three se­cu­rity guards were among those con­firmed dead, Shar­jeel Kharal, deputy in­spec­tor gen­eral of Po­lice South, told Arab News.

“Law en­force­ment agen­cies thwarted the at­tack by killing all four at­tack­ers,” he said, adding that the as­sailants had not en­tered the build­ing.

Banned sep­a­ratist group the Balochis­tan Lib­er­a­tion Army has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack and re­leased pho­to­graphs of the as­sailants.

The mil­i­tants opened fire and threw a hand grenade to break into the stock ex­change com­pound but were killed within min­utes of launch­ing the as­sault, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Sindh Rangers, Maj. Gen. Umar Ah­mad Bukhari, told re­porters.

“The at­tack­ers were killed within eight min­utes of the at­tack which started at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 10:10 a.m. The se­cu­rity net­work ef­fec­tively re­sponded and killed the four at­tack­ers and foiled the at­tempt to en­ter the main build­ing,” he said. Se­cu­rity forces have recovered AK-47 ri­fles, a grenade launcher, grenades, am­mu­ni­tion, and food the men had with them, pre­sum­ably plan­ning a longer as­sault.

Pak­istan des­ig­nated the Balochis­tan Lib­er­a­tion Army as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion on April 7, 2006. Trad­ing was un­in­ter­rupted by the at­tack. The PSX ad­min­is­tra­tion told work­ers in­side the build­ing to stay on the higher floors as rangers combed the com­pound. “Trad­ing was not in­ter­rupted even for a sec­ond. A prompt and un­be­liev­able se­cu­rity re­sponse has thwarted the at­tack which could have trig­gered an even big­ger in­ci­dent,” said Su­laiman S. Me­hdi, PSX chair­man and in­de­pen­dent non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

He added that dur­ing the at­tack an on­line board meet­ing was un­der­way.

“Trad­ing continues smoothly. The PSX bench­mark index is one of the best per­form­ers in Asia to­day so far. This is the re­silience of Pak­istan,” said Mo­hammed So­hail, CEO of To­pline Se­cu­ri­ties.

The coun­try’s largest bourse is lo­cated on I. I. Chun­dri­gar Road — also known as Pak­istan’s Wall Street — the city’s main commercial street in a high-se­cu­rity zone close to the State Bank of Pak­istan (SBP) and the Cen­tral Po­lice Of­fice.

Many of­fices of pri­vate banks, commercial en­ter­prises, and the head of­fice of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) are also in close vicin­ity.

BACK­GROUND

Pak­istan des­ig­nated the Balochis­tan Lib­er­a­tion Army as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion on April 7, 2006.

The coun­try’s largest bourse is lo­cated on I. I. Chun­dri­gar

Road — also known as Pak­istan’s Wall Street — the city’s main commercial street in a high­se­cu­rity zone close to the State Bank of Pak­istan (SBP) and the Cen­tral Po­lice Of­fice.

Reuters

Mem­bers of the Crime Scene Unit of Karachi Po­lice pre­pare to sur­vey the site of an at­tack at the Pak­istan Stock Ex­change en­trance in Karachi on Mon­day.

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