As many as 10 people were killed in a terrorist attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange located in Karachi, capital of Sindh province in Pakistan. This includes the four gunmen who carried out the attack as well as three security guards. Seven others have been injured and are receiving treatment.
At the time of the attack, there were more than a 1000 people on the trading floors of the exchange but the terrorists were unable to enter the building and were neutralized before they could do more damage. The gunmen were carrying modern automatic rifles including AK-47s alongside grenades.
Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for this attack. This makes the incident possibly different as it is not an Islamic fundamentalist group which is behind it but a secessionist outfit. However, this claim by the outfit, made through a tweet, is yet to be substantiated. The BLA had previously attacked the Chinese consulate in the same city in 2018.
As per the latest reports emanating from the local media, the gunmen started their assault by lobbing a grenade at the main gate and then started firing indiscriminately. However, the security personnel guarding this high-value target managed to neutralize them before they could get access to the building and threaten the employees.
The governor of the Sindh province has issued a statement condemning the incident.
"Strongly condemn the attack on PSX aimed at tarnishing our relentless war on terror. 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 governor stated.
Karachi happens to be the business and commercial capital of Pakistan as well as one of the metropolitan cities of the country. The building also contains offices of many important private banks, making it a nerve center of high-profile economic activity of the country.
Pakistan has repeatedly been battered by terrorist attacks from various Islamists groups. These attacks have affected all provinces of the country especially Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the Northern part of the country as well as Punjab. However, if the claims of BLA turn out to be true, then a new frontier has been opened up for the Pakistan state.
Pakistan government has faced serious charges of unleashing violent suppression in Balochistan province in order to fight secessionist threats. While there is scant outflow of information, claims of massive human rights violations have repeatedly been made by expats from the regions as well as those sympathetic to the cause.