Pakistan Stock Exchange comes under attack; 9 killed

Karachi, Jun 29 (PTI) Four heavily armed militants attacked the busy Pakistan Stock Exchange on Monday morning, killing four security guards and a police officer before being shot dead in an exchange of fire, media reports said.

The unidentified militants opened indiscriminate fire and lobbed hand grenades at the main gate of the multi-storey building as they tried to storm it, Geo News reported.

The police and Rangers' officials arrived at the scene and killed all the four terrorists near the entrance gates, Sindh Rangers said.

AK-47 rifles, hand grenades, magazines and other explosive material have been recovered, the police said, adding that the equipment indicated that they had come for a long siege.

Four security guards and a police sub-inspector were killed as they foiled their attempt to storm the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) compound on Karachi's I.I. Chundrigar Road, also known as Pakistan's Wall Street, the report said.

Five persons have been injured in the attack.

The militants could not enter the trading hall, Dawn News reported, adding that trading had not been stopped and was still continuing.

The firing by militants caused panic among the people in the building.

The building and surrounding areas have been sealed and people were evacuated from the back door, the report said.

Speaking to Geo TV, the Inspector-General of Karachi said that the situation was under control and all the militants have been killed.

He said that Rangers and police officials entered the building and were conducting a search operation.

According to the officer, the attackers were reportedly wearing clothes usually worn by police officials while they are off-duty.

Police said that the militants conducted the assault with sophisticated weapons and were carrying a bag of explosives.

Abid Ali Habib, Director Pakistan Stock Exchange, said that the militants stormed the Railway Ground parking area and opened fire outside the PSX ground.

They made their way to the main gate of the building and stormed it after trading fire with the security guards, he said.

'An unfortunate incident took place at the Pakistan Stock Exchange. They (militants) made their way from our parking area and opened fire on everyone,' said Habib said.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah condemned the attack and said that it was 'akin to an attack on national security and economy'.

'Anti-state elements want to take advantage of the virus situation,' he said.

Sindh province Governor Imran Ismail condemned 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,' he said on Twitter. PTI AMS CPS AKJ CPS