4 terrorists killed as attack on PSE foiled

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-Police, security guards eliminate terrorists outside building in gun-battle
-One police personnel, two security guards martyred, several injured
-Trading does not stop despite incident
-PM, political leaders pay glowing tributes to police, guards

From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: Security forces killed four terrorists who attempted to storm the Pakistan Stock Exchange compound in Karachi in a gun and grenade attack on Monday morning.
According to a police statement, one sub-inspector and three security guards were martyred in the attack. Seven people, including three police officials, have been injured, the statement said. The attackers, armed with grenades and automatic rifles, launched the attack and attempted to enter the PSX compound, which is in a high-security zone that also houses the head offices of several banks. Security personnel, including police and Rangers, intercepted the attackers and killed all four of them, Sindh Rangers said. A clearance operation was conducted later.
Police said that advanced weaponry, hand grenades and explosive material was recovered from the terrorists’ custody. Officials of the Bomb Disposal Unit also arrived at the scene of the attack and scoured the site, including a “suspected car” parked outside PSX that may have been used by the terrorists, for any explosive material. The Karachi additional inspector general of police directed officials to tighten the security of all important offices and trading centres across the city after the attack.
Rizwan Ahmed, a police official at the scene, told AP that food supplies were found on the bodies of the gunmen, indicating they may have planned a long siege, which police quickly thwarted. Inside the stock exchange, broker Yaqub Memon told AP that he and others were huddled inside their offices while the attack was underway.
‘Eight-minute operation’
Sindh Rangers Director General Omer Ahmed Bukhari, during a press conference, said that the terrorists were eliminated within eight minutes. He told reporters that the attackers arrived at the scene in a car at 10:02am and they were killed by security forces by 10:10am.
Once the attackers were killed, security personnel carried out a clearance operation and normalcy was restored to the area within 30-35 minutes. He said that the terrorists had planned a long assault, that included bloodshed and holding people inside the building hostage. All the attackers were equipped with AK47s, hand grenades and food.
Sindh Rangers Director General Omer Ahmed Bukhari addresses a press conference. The DG said that a tweet had been posted in which the attack has been attributed to the Balochistan Liberation Army outfit, adding that a final statement on it will be issued after investigation.
In response to a question, the DG acknowledged that the attack bore similarities to an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that was carried out by BLA militants in 2018.
Bukhari added that the possibility of the involvement of foreign agencies, especially India’s Research and Analysis Wing, cannot be ruled out, saying that such attacks are not “stand-alone incidents” and cannot take place without the aid of “outside intelligence agencies”.
“Straightaway, I can assure you that this terrorist incident cannot have taken place without [the help of an] outside agency. And among them, RAW’s frustration is apparent to all of you,” he said.
Responding to a question, Bukhari denied the suggestion that the attack represented an intelligence failure, adding that security forces’ response was “in place” and the militants “could not achieve any of their motives”.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon also backed Bukhari’s statement, saying that since the attack on Chinese consulate, there have been other attempts that were foiled by security agencies. He said that it was a triumph for the country’s security forces as they had responded promptly and thwarted the motives of the attackers.
“We were prepared when they came, we had a good response, we had good coordination with intelligence,” he said.
Bukhari said that the militants may have wanted to show that they have the ability to target high-profile places but they had been humiliated because they were eliminated within minutes. The Sindh Rangers DG said that investor confidence in the country had increased.
Trading ongoing
Rescue services at the site of the attack. — Photo provided by Imtiaz Ali
PSX Board Chairman Sulaiman S. Mehdi said “trading didn’t close even for a minute”.
“There is no doubt that this was a terrorist attack. I want to thank the security guards who embraced martyrdom for their service. The response of police and security forces was unbelievable. Our personal guards deterred the terrorists until police came in; they were not allowed to enter the building at all,” said Mehdi.
Around 1:20pm, the benchmark index at the PSX was up 0.31pc or 104 points at 34,044.
PSX Managing Director Farrukh Khan termed the attack “unfortunate” and praised the security forces for their timely response. While speaking to Geo News, he said the number of people in the compound was lower than normal — usually close to 6,000 — since many employees were working from home due to Covid-19.
He said that the terrorists were intercepted outside the entrance and only one of them had entered the compound, and that too “only a few steps”. None of them entered the trading hall or the building, said Khan, adding that trading had not stopped and was still continuing.
Security personnel seen at the PSX entrance following the attack. — Photo: Shahzeb Ahmed
Following the attack at PSX, Islamabad Inspector General Mohammad Amir Zulfiqar Khan issued a security high alert and directed all senior officials to remain at their zones. Checking at all entry and exit points of the city has been increased and citizens have been told to cooperate with the police.
He instructed senior officials to personally check security arrangements and present their reports.
While strongly condemning the attack, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a statement paid tribute to the security personnel who lost their lives.
He suggested that India was involved in the deadly attack, recalling that he had stated after an attack in Waziristan that New Delhi had activated its “sleeper cells” in the country. The circumstances of today’s attack, if examined, “will lead to the same sleeper cells”, Qureshi added.
“India cannot tolerate peace in Pakistan,” the minister said, adding that India was involved in the attack on Pakistani troops as well.
He said India was being “exposed” before the world, including through its confrontation with China in Ladakh and its oppression of people in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Qureshi said Pakistani agencies are “fully alert” to all threats. “We will foil all Indian strategies [and] further expose it in front of the world,” he added.
Law enforcement authorities (LEAs) have completed an initial probe regarding the vehicle used by the terrorists to reach Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building, media reported.
It is pertinent to mention here that at least 10 people were killed and several others injured after four suspected terrorists stormed the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Monday.
It was found during the probe that one of the terrorists used his personal vehicle to storm the PSX building. “One of the slain terrorist identified as Salman, purchased the vehicle on his name from a showroom in Karachi,” they said.
The authorities located the showroom at the Karsaz area that deals mostly in used vehicles. The documents of the vehicle bore the number used by the terrorist, his father’s name, and his residential address.
Moreover, the security agencies have also found similarities in the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and Chinese Consulate attacks in Karachi. The terrorist used hand grenades in both the attacks to pave their way to enter the premises. “We are conducting a forensic examination of the weapons recovered from their possession,” they said adding that examinations of weapons used in both attacks would then be matched to draw any similarities if any.
Meanwhile, following a failed attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed to make fool-proof security arrangements at all the important business centers, sensitive installations, and entry and exit points of the city.
Presiding over a high-level meeting on law and order, Syed Murad Ali Shah directed to accelerate the ongoing targeted operations and improve the intelligence system in the province.
“There is no doubt that this was a terrorist attack. I want to thank the security guards who embraced martyrdom for their service. The response of police and security forces was unbelievable. Our personal guards deterred the terrorists until police came in; they were not allowed to enter the building at all,” said Mehdi.
PSX Managing Director Farrukh Khan termed the attack “unfortunate” and praised the security forces for their timely response. While speaking to a private Tv news channel he said the number of people in the compound was lower than normal usually close to 6,000 since many employees were working from home due to Covid-19. He said that the terrorists were intercepted outside the entrance and only one of them had entered the compound, and that also “only a few steps”. None of them entered the trading hall or the building, said Khan, added that trading had not stopped and was still continuing.
Following the attack at PSX, Islamabad Inspector General Mohammad Amir Zulfiqar Khan issued a security high alert and directed all senior officials to remain at their zones. Checking at all entry and exit points of the city has been increased and citizens have been told to cooperate with the police. He instructed senior officials to personally check security arrangements and present their reports.
Sindh Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar demanded a report of the incident from the DIG South. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah condemned the incident, saying that the attack was “akin to an attack on national security and economy”.
“Anti-state elements want to take advantage of the virus situation,” he said in the statement.
He lauded the “prompt action” by police and Rangers and directed all law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail condemned the incident, saying: “We shall protect Sindh at all costs.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the terrorist attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) carried out by four gunmen on Monday. The premier paid tribute to the security officials who foiled the terror bid and prayed for quick recovery of the wounded. The entire nation is proud of its brave officers, Imran Khan added. Let it be known that the security forces foiled the attack at the PSX in Karachi and killed all four terrorists. One policeman and four security guards embraced martyrdom in the incident.
The terrorists hurled hand grenade at the PSX building and opened indiscriminate fire by using automatic weapons.
Receiving information about the mishap, contingents of Rangers and police arrived at the scene and killed all four terrorists in retaliation. Huge cache of weapons and hand grenades has been recovered from their possession.