Militants attack Karachi stock exchange, kill at least three
Militants attacked the stock exchange in Karachi, Pakistan, on Monday, killing at least three people — two guards and a policeman — according to police. Special police forces deployed to the scene have secured the building, killing all the four gunmen.
There were no reports of any wounded among the brokers and employees inside the exchange and a separatist militant group from a neighboring province later claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attackers were armed with grenades and automatic rifles, police said. They started the attack by opening fire at the entrance of the Pakistan Stock Exchange in the southern port city, the country's financial center.
Rizwan Ahmend, a police official at the scene, said that after opening fire, the gunmen entered the high walled stock exchange grounds. He said food supplies were found on the bodies of the gunmen, indicating they may have planned a long siege, which the police quickly thwarted.
Inside the stock exchange, broker Yaqub Memon told The Associated Press that he and others were huddled inside their offices while the attack was underway.
Heavily armed special forces quickly surrounded the building in the heart of the city's financial district, where headquarters of several national and international financial institutions are located.
Local television stations were broadcasting images of police in full body armor surrounding the building but still staying outside the high-walled compound of the stock exchange.
Shazia Jehan, a police spokesman, said the bomb disposal squad was also called in. The squad was trying to clear the building of explosive devises.
Later, the Baluchistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has been waging an urgency for years, demanding independence for Pakistan's gas-rich southwestern Baluchistan province, which borders the southern Sindh province, where Karachi is the provincial capital.
The group also circulated to the media a photograph of four men in full body armor and camouflage outfits, saying they were the militants who attacked the stock exchange.
The Karachi stock exchange is Pakistan’s largest and oldest stock exchange, incorporated today with the exchanges in Islamabad and Lahore.
The Baluchistan Liberation Army, which Pakistan says has found safe haven across the border in Afghanistan, has carried out a series of attacks in Karachi in recent years, including an attack on the Chinese Consulate in November 2018 that killed two people.
The Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is located in Baluchistan, and is part of China’s multi-billion dollar one-road project linking south and Central Asia to China. The Baluchistan militant group has opposed the one-road project including a highway connecting the Gwadar port to the Chinese border.