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.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright: Arab News © 2020 All rights reserved.