Deadly attack rocks Karachi

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 30 Jun 2020

Baloch separatists opened fire and hurled a grenade at the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi yesterday, killing four people including a policeman.

Three security guards were killed in the attack, while local police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said all four assailants were shot dead.

"Police have recovered modern automatic weapons and explosive materials from the terrorists," Karachi police said.

Pakistan's military praised the swift response of the city's security forces, while the Karachi police released a video of one member from a provincial security unit describing the firefight.

"I shot one of them dead ... The second guy saw me and ... he took out a grenade. I shot him twice in his hand and his weapon fell down. I then shot him in the head as he tried to pull out the grenade pin," said Mohammad Rafiq, a member of an elite provincial rapid response team.

The video of the officer was shared widely online, with social media users calling Rafiq a hero.

The Balochistan Liberation Army later claimed responsibility, saying an elite unit of fighters had carried out the assault.

The separatists have carried out a string of high-profile attacks across the country in recent years - including in the southern port city.

The BLA is one of several insurgent groups fighting primarily in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, which has been rocked by separatist, Islamist and sectarian violence for years.

The group has targeted infrastructure projects and Chinese workers in Pakistan multiple times in recent years, including during a brazen daylight attack on Bejing's consulate in Karachi which killed four people in 2018.

Following yesterday's attack, Pakistani authorities vowed to strike back against at any group found responsible for the onslaught.

Business continued as usual at the Karachi stock exchange after the attack.

"Trading is smooth and continuing. PSX benchmark index one of the Best Performer in Asia today so far," tweeted Mohammed Sohail, a broker at the exchange.

For a while after the attack, the bodies of at least two gunmen could be seen in a pool of blood near the exchange.

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