Following a terrorist attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in southern port city of Karachi on Monday, a security high alert has been declared across the country to avoid any other possible attack, local media reported.
Local media quoted official sources as saying that all the security departments have been advised to keep vigilant at all important official buildings and installations.
Pakistani capital Islamabad’s Inspector General of police Muhammad Amir Zulfiqar Khan has reportedly issued a security high alert and directed all senior officials to remain at their zones.
“Checking at all entry and exit points and important junctions within the city has been increased and citizens have been told to cooperate with the police,” said the reports while quoting Khan.
Proscribed organization Balochistan Liberation Army claimed the attack on social media. Sources from the counter terrorism department of police confirmed to Xinhua that initial investigations reveal that the militants were associated with the banned outfit and had been provided with sophisticated weapons by the organization.
Director General of Sindh Rangers, a paramilitary force, Major General Omer Ahmed Bukhari told the media that a group of four militants armed with sophisticated weapons stormed the PSX building in the city’s top business region at 10:02 a.m. local time and killed one police officer and three security guards deployed at the venue.
At least seven people, including security personnel, were wounded in the attack, and were shifted to a nearby hospital.
Earlier in the day, Senior Superintendent Police City of Karachi Muqaddas Haider said that one police officer and four security guards were killed.
Bukhari told a press conference that the militants chose the less crowded entrance of the building and hurled hand grenades at the security guards and managed to cross the first gate, but two of them were killed by the security personnel present inside a few minutes after their arrival.
“All the security personnel present inside were alert and they managed to kill all the terrorists within 12 minutes after the first bullet was fired,” said Bukhari, adding that later on security forces completed the clearance operation.
Police officials told the media that owing to the PSX building being the economic symbol of Pakistan and a sensitive area, there are three-layers of security inside it to protect it from terrorist activity.
Managing Director of Pakistan Stock Exchange Farrukh Khan also confirmed that none of the militants reached the offices where trading was taking place, adding that operation of the market continued during the attack, and remained underway after it.
Additional Inspector General of the Counter-Terrorism Department of Sindh police Jamil Ahmad said the terrorists had a variety of weapons and explosives along with dry fruits and energy drinks showing that they wanted to make people hostage and spend long time to raise their demands.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and paid a tribute to the security officials who foiled the terror bid and prayed for quick recovery of the wounded.
“I salute our brave police and security personnel who thwarted the condemnable terrorist attack in Karachi,” said the prime minister.
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appreciated the security agencies for their operational readiness, and prompt, effective and integrated response.
“The externally-supported cowardly attack is another manifestation of the state-sponsored terrorism being perpetrated against Pakistan, which is highly condemnable,” the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan said in a statement Monday night about the terrorist attack on the PSX.