This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Pakistani security forces gunned down four armed men who were allegedly attempting to storm the building housing the Karachi trading floor of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Monday, June 29, morning. Reports claim a police sub-inspector, four security guards of the PSX and one civilian had also died in the crossfire, as of writing.
The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has claimed responsibility for the attack, reportedly via a tweet. The account was later suspended by Twitter. BLA is one of the oldest groups of the movement that demands autonomy for Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province.
The group was banned by Pakistan in 2006. In 2019, the United States designated BLA as a terror organisation.
Initial reports state that the attack began a little before 10am. The men were reportedly attempting to storm the compound by throwing grenades on the security post outside the building. They were gunned down around noon before they could enter the building.
It was unclear who the men were targetting.
Farrukh Khan, the managing director of PSX, told Pakistani media that the gunmen were intercepted outside the building and one of them made it “only a few steps” inside the compound.
Khan also added that trading was not halted during the attacks.
The PSX’s Karachi trading floors are located in one of the busiest buildings in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. I.I. Chundrigar Road, on which the building is located, is known as the country’s Wall Street.
Before the 2016 formation of the PSX by consolidating the Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore stock exchanges, Karachi’s was the oldest and largest stock exchange in Pakistan.
An official from Counter-Terrorism Department of the Pakistan government told Reuters that the gunmen were equipped with “significant quantities” of ammunition and grenades in their backpacks. Rizwan Ahmend, a police officer at the scene, told The Guardian that food supplies were found as well, indicating the possibility of a plan for a long siege. Geo reports that the attackers were wearing uniforms usually worn by the police officials while they’re off-duty.
According to Pakistani news reports, the security forces found “advanced weaponry” in the form of hand grenades and explosive materials from the men.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters that the gunmen had come in a Toyota Corolla car.
Imran Ismail, Governor of the southeast Sindh province—of which Karachi is the capital—tweeted that he has instructed the inspectors general and security agencies to “ensure the perpetrators are caught alive and handlers are accorded exemplary punishment.”
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