PAKISTAN. Karachi: An attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) was thwarted as four-armed terrorists were neutralized as soon as they tried to enter the building today, 29 June. The terrorists managed to kill three security guards and a police officer. The Baloch ethnic group, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), has claimed responsibility.
The attack took place on Monday at 10 am (05:00 GMT) soon after business activities began. The terrorists came to the building in a car and opened fire on the security guards at the checkpoint. Heavily armed militants also threw hand-grenades and tried to storm the concrete checkpoints of the building. The on-duty personnel of the Sindh Police killed two gunmen at the entry point. The remaining two were later killed when they advanced to the main entry point of the building. The whole encounter lasted for eight minutes as the security forces soon took control of the PSX. The four-wheeler in which the gunmen showed up was taken into possession by the police. Hand grenades, modern automatic weapons, and explosive materials were recovered from the terrorists.
Security forces’ version. Director General (DG) of Sindh Rangers, Major General Omer Bukhari, and Additional Inspector General (AIG) Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon, in a joint news conference, termed the attack as an attempt to disrupt peace and the economy of the country. DG Rangers Major General Bukhari said that the attackers had planned to kill and take hostages. Major Bukhari further stated that the primary aim of the militants was to make their way to the trading floor of the PSX. Due to the quick response of Sindh police, the terrorists’ agenda was sabotaged. AIG Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon remarked that they had intelligence reports of this assault, that is why the security personnel deployed at the building were alert and foiled the attack. The officers further said that the bomb disposal squad cleared the building and the business activities were resumed after 25 minutes.
Business community response. Ahmed Chinoy, Director of the PSX who was an eye witness to this incident, said panic rose among people in the building when they heard the gunshots. Even so, he said, we tried to remain calm and managed to hide in secure rooms. Ahmed Chinoy, another Director of the PSX, lauded the efforts of the Sindh police personnel, Rafiq Soomro and Khalil Jatoi, for their valour. The Managing Director of PSX, Farrukh Khan, said there were fewer people inside the building because of COVID-19.
Security personnel’s gallantry lauded. Rafiq Soomro and Khalil Jatoi, constables of the Sindh police, have become the heroes of the nation. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan, appreciated both of them in his tweet. He also paid tribute to the martyred police sub-inspector Shahid Ali. Chief of the Army Staff General, Qamar Javed Bajwa, also hailed the bravery of the Sindh police. Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif; Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari; and other political leaders also condemned the response to the attack and paid their tributes to the brave policemen. Inspector General of Sindh, Mushtaq Mahar, announced Rs. 2 million for constables Khalil and Rafiq. Social media has also burst into posts commending the bravery and heroism of both. Citizens are demanding the government to confer awards for them.
BLA, the face behind the attack. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the terror attack. The ethnonationalism group is being headed by Hyrbyair Marri who had gone in to self-exiled in London years ago. He is the son of late Nawab Khair Bux Marri, a seasoned Baloch politician. Hyrbyair Marri has been accused of getting funds from anti-state elements to sabotage the peace process in Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan. Hyrbyair’s prime demand is to liberate Balochistan from Pakistan, as to him the province and the inhabitants have not been getting their due share from the state.
By: Umar Zaidi and Minahil Khan