Wednesday, July 8

Four killed in attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange

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Security personnel guard the main entrance of the Pakistan Stock Exchange building after the attack. — AFP photo

KARACHI: Baloch separatists opened fire and hurled a grenade at the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi yesterday, authorities said, killing four people including a policeman.

Three security guards were killed in the melee, while local police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said all four assailants were shot dead.

“Police have recovered modern automatic weapons and explosive materials from the terrorists,” Karachi police said in a statement.

The city’s police force had earlier said six people died in the firefight but later revised the figure. A Karachi hospital where the bodies were taken confirmed the new death toll.

Pakistan’s military praised the swift response of the city’s security forces, while the Karachi police released a video of one member from a provincial security unit describing the firefight.

“I shot one of them dead…. The second guy saw me and… he took out a grenade. I shot him twice in his hand and his weapon fell down. I then shot him in the head as he tried to pull out the grenade pin,” said Mohammad Rafiq, a member of an elite provincial rapid response team.

The video of the officer was shared widely online, with social media users calling Rafiq a hero.

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility in a message sent to AFP, saying an elite unit of fighters had carried out the assault.

The separatists have launched a string of high-profile attacks across the country in recent years – including in the southern port city.

The BLA is one of several insurgent groups fighting primarily in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, which has been rocked by separatist, Islamist and sectarian violence for years.

The group has targeted infrastructure projects and Chinese workers in Pakistan multiple times in recent years, including a brazen daylight attack on Bejing’s consulate in Karachi that killed four people in 2018. — AFP