KARACHI: A police sub inspector and three security guards were killed as law enforcement and security agencies successfully thwarted a brazen attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Monday by at least four heavily armed militants.
According to Geo News, the four militants had arrived in a sedan and attempted to storm the PSX compound from its parking side while indiscriminately firing and lobbing grenades.
An Additional IG of Police confirmed that the four were killed and the attack had been "successfully thwarted", while a spokesperson for the Sindh Rangers added that a clearance operation was launched after the active threat was neutralised.
Meanwhile, DIG South Sharjeel Kharal informed that the attackers had come heavily equipped with modern weaponry and had entered the building from the parking area of the PSX, a fact which was corroborated by an eyewitness.
DIG Kharal said a bomb disposal squad has been called to search and clear the area. He added that the police have taken the car in which the accused arrived at the stock exchange in their custody.
SP City Muqadas said seven people wounded in the attack had been shifted to Civil Hospital Karachi. He added, apart from those martyred, a policeman injured in the incident was being treated at the hospital.
Director Pakistan Stock Exchange and an eyewitness to the attack, Abid Ali Habib, said that the militants had stormed the Railway Ground parking area and fired outside the ground of the PSX. Habib said that the firing by militants had caused panic among the people in the building.
'Terrorists had planned a long fight'
In charge of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Raja Umar Khatab said that the terrorists had planned for a long fight as a part of their mission.
According to Khatab, they did not find any suicide jackets on the terrorists and their mission was not to return alive during the attack. He added that the items seized from terrorist’s had water and edibles on them.
PSX to issue detailed report
The Pakistan Stock exchange has also confirmed that the firing has stopped and the reinforcementare in place.
"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," said the PSX in a tweet.
The PSX shared that they will issue a more detailed statement once the "details are known".
"For now firing has stopped and reinforcement are in place," said the PSX.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of PSX Farrukh Khan told Geo News that the incident was “very unfortunate” but thankfully the PSX’s security arrangements and planning done by them was “effective” in thwarting the attack.
Khan said that the PSX’s guards were successful in stopping the attackers from entering the building till police and rangers responded to the incident.
The MD PSX also shared that the staff at the building was less than normal due to the coronavirus pandemic as many people were working remotely.
“I cannot give an exact figure [on how many people were in the building] but the Stock exchange compound has two main areas. One is the PSX building and has its staff due to COVID-19 were working remotely as far as possible. Staff was there but it was less than normal,” said the MD. He added that on normal days 6,000 to 8,000 people entered the compound but it was very less these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Khan repeated that even despite the pandemic there were a lot of people inside the compound, adding that if the terrorists were not held back at the gate then the situation could have turned worse.
The MD also shared that one of the attackers came inside the compound for some steps but he was neutralised before he could come further by the PSX’s security team and security personnel.
Khan also shared that trading was not affected by the attack and continued even during the attack and was still underway. He also clarified that the PSX had not received any kind of threat about an imminent attack.
PM Imran condemns incident, CM Shah seeks detailed report
Prime Minister Imran Khan has also condemned the attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange and lauded the security agencies for bravely fighting the attackers and successfully thwarting their attack.
The PM also shared his condolences with the deceased and prayed for the successful recovery for the injured.
Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has condemned the incident and asked for a detailed report of the incident.
Shah said that enemies of the country want to take advantage of the situation created by the pandemic and directed all law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant. The CM also lauded the police and rangers for the quick action.
On the other hand, Governer Sindh Imran Ismail, while the attack was ongoing, had tweeted that he had instructed the Inspector General of police and security agencies to catch the militants alive.
"We shall protect Sindh at all costs," the governor had tweeted while condemning the attack.
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