Security forces killed four terrorists who attempted to storm the Pakistan Stock Exchange compound in Karachi in a gun and grenade attack on Monday morning.
According to a police statement, one sub-inspector and three security guards were martyred in the attack. Seven people, including three police officials, have been injured, the statement said.
The attackers, armed with grenades and automatic rifles, launched the attack and attempted to enter the PSX compound, which is in a high-security zone that also houses the head offices of several banks.
Security personnel, including police and Rangers, intercepted the attackers and killed all four of them, Sindh Rangers said. A clearance operation was conducted later.
Police said that advanced weaponry, hand grenades and explosive material was recovered from the terrorists’ custody. Officials of the Bomb Disposal Unit also arrived at the scene of the attack and scoured the site, including a “suspected car” parked outside PSX that may have been used by the terrorists, for any explosive material.
The Karachi additional inspector general of police directed officials to tighten the security of all important offices and trading centres across the city after the attack.
Rizwan Ahmed, a police official at the scene, told media that food supplies were found on the bodies of the gunmen, indicating they may have planned a long siege, which police quickly thwarted.
Inside the stock exchange, broker Yaqub Memon said that he and others were huddled inside their offices while the attack was underway.
Sindh Rangers Director General Omer Ahmed Bukhari, during a press conference, said that the terrorists were eliminated within eight minutes. He told reporters that the attackers arrived at the scene in a car at 10:02am and they were killed by security forces by 10:10am.
Once the attackers were killed, security personnel carried out a clearance operation and normalcy was restored to the area within 30-35 minutes.
He said that the terrorists had planned a long assault, that included bloodshed and holding people inside the building hostage. All the attackers were equipped with AK47s, hand grenades and food.
The DG said that a tweet had been posted in which the attack has been attributed to the Balochistan Liberation Army outfit, adding that a final statement on it will be issued after investigation.
In response to a question, the DG acknowledged that the attack bore similarities to an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that was carried out by BLA militants in 2018.
Bukhari added that the possibility of the involvement of foreign agencies, especially India’s Research and Analysis Wing, cannot be ruled out, saying that such attacks are not “stand-alone incidents” and cannot take place without the aid of “outside intelligence agencies”.
“Straightaway, I can assure you that this terrorist incident cannot have taken place without [the help of an] outside agency. And among them, RAW’s frustration is apparent to all of you,” he said.
Responding to a question, Bukhari denied the suggestion that the attack represented an intelligence failure, adding that security forces’ response was “in place” and the militants “could not achieve any of their motives”.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon also backed Bukhari’s statement, saying that since the attack on Chinese consulate, there have been other attempts that were foiled by security agencies. He said that it was a triumph for the country’s security forces as they had responded promptly and thwarted the motives of the attackers.
“We were prepared when they came, we had a good response, we had good coordination with intelligence,” he said.
Bukhari said that the militants may have wanted to show that they have the ability to target high-profile places but they had been humiliated because were eliminated within minutes. The Sindh Rangers DG said that investor confidence in the country had increased.
Inspector-General Police, Sindh, Mushtaq Ahmad Maher, has announced Rs 20,00,000 prize for the Rapid Response Force jawans who fought bravely and shot dead the terrorists who wanted to play havoc with the PSX on Monday. PSX Board Chairman Sulaiman S. Mehdi said “trading didn’t close even for a minute”.
“There is no doubt that this was a terrorist attack. I want to thank the security guards who embraced martyrdom for their service. The response of police and security forces was unbelievable. Our personal guards deterred the terrorists until police came in; they were not allowed to enter the building at all,” said Mehdi.
PSX Managing Director Farrukh Khan termed the attack “unfortunate” and praised the security forces for their timely response. He said the number of people in the compound was lower than normal — usually close to 6,000 — since many employees were working from home due to Covid-19. He said that the terrorists were intercepted outside the entrance and only one of them had entered the compound, and that too “only a few steps”. they