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 four security guards were martyred in the attack as well as one civilian. Three police officials have been injured, the statement said.
The attackers, a little before 10am, were armed with grenades and automatic rifles. They launched the attack by using grenades and then opened fire at the entrance of the Pakistan Stock Exchange. They attempted to enter the compound but were killed by security forces, said police.
Police and Rangers officials arrived at the scene soon after the attack and killed all four attackers, Sindh Rangers said. A clearance operation is underway in the vicinity.
Police said that advanced weaponry, hand grenades and explosive material has been recovered from the terrorists’ custody. Security forces are also examining a “suspected car” parked outside PSX.
Additional inspector general of Police, Karachi has directed to tighten the security of all important offices and trading centres across the city.
Police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi said that seven bodies and seven injured, including policemen, have been brought at the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi.
Rizwan Ahmend, a police official at the scene, told AP 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 told AP that he and others were huddled inside their offices while the attack was underway.
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. While speaking to Geo News, 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 also “only a few steps”. None of them entered the trading hall or the building, said Khan, added that trading had not stopped and was still continuing.
Following the attack at PSX, Islamabad Inspector General Mohammad Amir Zulfiqar Khan issued a security high alert and directed all senior officials to remain at their zones. Checking at all entry and exit points of the city has been increased and citizens have been told to cooperate with the police.
He instructed senior officials to personally check security arrangements and present their reports.
Report and condemnations
Sindh Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar demanded a report of the incident from the DIG South.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah condemned the incident, saying that the attack was “akin to an attack on national security and economy”.
“Anti-state elements want to take advantage of the virus situation,” he said in the statement.
He lauded the “prompt action” by police and Rangers and directed all law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail condemned the incident, saying: “We shall protect Sindh at all costs.”