By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s Security forces killed four terrorists who attempted to storm the Pakistan Stock Exchange compound in the port city of Karachi in a gun and grenade attack on Monday.
According to a Sindh police statement, one sub-inspector and two security guards were martyred in the attack. Seven people, including three police officials, have been injured, it added.
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.
Police and Rangers officials arrived at the scene soon after the attack and killed all four attackers, Sindh Rangers said.
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, English newspaper , Daily Dawn reported.
According to media reports, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the Afghanistan based terrorist organization has claimed the responsibility for the attack. BLA has been listed as terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom and Pakistan.
While condemning the attack , Special Assistant to PM on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Moeed Yusuf has said the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and India have established links that the Indian government uses to carry out state sponsored terrorism in Pakistan.
The int’l community must publicly call out & condemn countries that perpetrate terrorism against Pakistan. There is an established link b/w BLA, an int’l listed terror org, and India, a state led by fascist govt that has again perpetrated terrorism in Pakistan through its proxies
— Moeed W. Yusuf (@YusufMoeed) June 29, 2020
In a tweet on Monday, he said that BLA is an international listed terror organization, while India which is run by a fascist government, uses its proxies for promoting terrorism.
“There is an established link between BLA, an international listed terror organisation, and India, a state led by [a] fascist government that has again perpetrated terrorism in Pakistan through its proxies,” he wrote.
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.
Sindh Rangers Director General Omer Ahmed Bukhari, during a press conference, said that the terrorists were eliminated within eight minutes. He told reporters that a combined operation by security agencies started at 10:02am and the attackers were killed by 10:10am.
There was an attack on the PSX compound earlier today. The situation is still unfolding and management, with the help of security forces, is managing the security and controlling the situation.
— PSX (@pakstockexgltd) June 29, 2020
Once the attackers were killed, security forces carried out a clearance operation and normalcy was restored to the area within 30-35 minutes.
Omar Bukhari 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, a terrorist organization 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 (RAW) , 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 they were eliminated within minutes. The Sindh Rangers DG said that investor confidence in the country had increased.
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 a statement.
He lauded the “prompt action” by police and Rangers and directed all law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa paid tribute to the PSX security guards “who sacrificed their lives as first responders vigilantly checking terrorists’ entry to PSX [and] foiling a major terrorist incident”, according to a tweet by the military’s media wing.
He also lauded the “prompt, effective and integrated response” of Rangers and Sindh Police, which he noted resulted in the terrorists being eliminated in “shortest possible time”.
“With [the] support of our resilient nation, we will foil all efforts of enemies aimed at destabilising hard-earned peace achieved through sacrifices of our martyrs,” the ISPR quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.