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November 26, 2018

How one guard helped thwart attack on Chinese consulate

Karachi

November 26, 2018

An unarmed private security guard posted at the Chinese consulate general came running inside the visa section of the building on Friday morning, locked the gate and asked the applicants to help him secure it with furniture.

“I was trying to persuade the Chinese consulate staff to issue me a visa at the earliest, as I had to attend an official meeting in Beijing in the next few days, when I heard an explosion and firing outside the visa section. This guard came running inside and locked the door,” recalled Engr Muhammad Khan Uthmankhail.

“He yelled ‘terrorists have attacked the consulate’ and asked us help him secure the gate. We put everything we had in the room to block the entrance and hid ourselves in the corridor and the waiting room while they [the terrorists] were throwing grenades and spraying bullets outside,” said Uthmankhail, a deputy director at the Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency.

An armed terrorist managed to reach the entrance of the visa section. Failing to break in, however, he opened fire on the gate, many of the bullets piercing through and breaking the glass partitions of the visa counter, but fortunately, no one was hit.

Soon after the attack, the consulate staff had managed to sneak inside the building and locked the doors, as they were behind the visa counter, but the applicants and security guards remained trapped inside the visa section and could have been easily targeted if the terrorists had managed to break in.

“A dozen people, including a woman and a child, were trapped inside the visa section. After securing the gate, we hid ourselves and prayed for our lives. The gate was the only barrier between us and the terrorists,” said the Balochistan government official.

Investigators said the closed gate had saved dozens of lives, adding that one of the terrorists had been planning to use an explosive to break in, but the paramilitary forces killed all the attackers before they could enter the building.

Uthmankhail said that one of the bullets had hit the wall a few centimetres away from his hiding place, adding that he felt lucky to survive the attack. “We heard explosions and intense firing from the outside and it was the most difficult time for me.”

The Sindh Rangers were the first to enter the visa section after the terrorists were killed. “Soon after the end of the operation, the Chinese visa staff hugged us for our bravery and thanked us, saying that we were the people who secured the gate from the inside and thwarted the entry of the terrorists.”

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