Monday 29 June 2020 2:26 pm

Six killed in Pakistan Stock Exchange attack

Gunmen have attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange building in the city of Karachi, police said today, with four assailants reportedly killed.

The attackers used grenades and guns in their assault, according to local media.

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Pakistan’s stock exchange in Karachi is in a high security zone and also hosts many private banks’ head offices.

“Four attackers have been killed, they had come in a silver Corolla car,” Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters.

Faisal Edhi, the chief of the country’s main rescue ambulance service, also told Al Jazeera that security forces have killed four attackers so far.

“Two were killed at the gate, and two of them went inside in an injured state and were then killed there,” Edhi told reporters close to the site of the attack in Karachi’s main business district.

Another two people were also killed, Pakistan’s military forces told Reuters.

The gunmen initially threw a grenade before opening fire on a security post outside the building. The four were killed in retaliatory fire from security forces posted there.

“There was an attack on the PSX compound earlier today,” the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) said on Twitter.

“The situation is still unfolding and management, with the help of security forces, is managing the security and controlling the situation.”

PSX added in another post: “Firing has stopped and reinforcement are in place.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Pakistan has long been plagued by Islamist militant violence but attacks have become less frequent in recent years.

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Sindh province governor Imran Ismail used Twitter to issue a statement against the assault.

“Strongly condemn the attack on PSX aimed at tarnishing our relentless war on terror,” Ismail posted. “Have instructed the IG & security agencies to ensure that the perpetrators are caught alive & their handlers are accorded exemplary punishments. We shall protect Sindh at all costs.”

The Pakistan Stock Exchange did not suspend trading during the attack, its managing director, Furrukh Khan, said.

A Counter-Terrorism Department official told Reuters the attackers were carrying significant quantities of ammunition and grenades in backpacks.

Later the Pakistan Stock Exchange said: “We are thankful to everyone who stood strong against the terrorists. May Allah keep us safe from harm’s way and may Pakistan rise stronger.

“PSX wholeheartedly thanks all the law enforcement agencies that actively defeated terrorists involved in the PSX attack. PSX is also thankful to the resilient staff, traders and investing public that showed confidence in the market, which continued to function as per norm and without fail in accordance with the set protocols and processes.”

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Apart from Islamist militants, Pakistan has also had to contend with separatist insurgents in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

Separatists were responsible for an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi in 2018.

This month, three explosions on the same day claimed by a little-known separatist group killed four people including two soldiers in the southern province of Sindh, of which Karachi is capital.