Four gunmen stormed into Pakistan’s largest and oldest stock exchange in the southern port city of Karachi on Monday morning killing at least two people, according to local media reports. The four attackers have also been eliminated, the Karachi police said.
At least four people have been reported injured in the attack, some of them seen on video being wheeled out of the stock exchange into waiting ambulances.
The attackers drove to the barricaded entrance of the stock exchange in a silver Corolla car a little before 10 am, got off and hurled a grenade at security personnel before opening fire from automatic firearms. Police officer Rizwan Ahmed said the gunmen opened fire at the entrance and entered the stock exchange grounds. The complex was soon surrounded by heavily armed special forces, according to news agency AP.
Press Trust of India said four security guards and a police sub-inspector were killed in the attack apart from the four gunmen.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail condemned the attack that he insisted was aimed at what he described as “tarnishing our relentless war on terror”. Ismail said he had ordered security agencies to catch the attackers alive and deliver “exemplary punishment” to their handlers.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters that four attackers had been killed.
Karachi was once a hotspot for crime and political and ethnic violence, with heavily armed groups tied to politicians frequently gunning down opponents and launching attacks on residential areas. News agency AFP said the situation has largely stabilised in recent years following operations by security agencies against armed political outfits and Islamist militants.
The stock exchange is located in the heart of Karachi’s financial district, where the Pakistan State Bank is located as well as the headquarters of several national and international financial institutions.
As security personnel tried to stop the attackers, broker Yaqub Memon said he and others stayed huddled inside their offices.
Monday’s attack comes more than a week after a grenade was thrown at a line of people waiting outside a government welfare office in the city, killing one and injuring eight others, according to a statement from municipal authorities. In 2018, separatist militants launched a brazen daylight attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that killed four people, AFP said.