What is the Karachi Stock Exchange

At least seven dead in an attack on the Pakistani stock exchange

Karachi - Armed attackers stormed the Karachi stock exchange on Monday, killing at least seven people. The police in the Pakistani financial metropolis said on Monday that security guards, a police officer and a civilian were among the victims. Four "terrorists" were also killed. The separatist Liberation Army of Baluchistan (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Armed with AK-47 rifles, hand grenades and ammunition, the attackers tried to storm the stock exchange and take hostages on Monday morning, said a representative of the paramilitary forces Pakistan Rangers. The attackers were killed within eight minutes. According to the police's anti-terrorism department, two security guards and a police officer are also among those killed.

Immediately before the attack, the attackers drove up in a vehicle and threw a grenade at the stock exchange building, said Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabu Memom. Then the men would have opened fire. According to the police, fighting took place inside and outside the building.

1,000 people in attendance

At the time of the attack, around 1,000 employees and dealers were in the stock exchange building, according to media reports. Videos from local media showed how security forces cleared the area around the stock exchange building. Gunshots and explosions could be heard over and over again.

"It was a serious attack, but fortunately the terrorists failed to break into the main site," said Pakistani stock exchange executive Farrukh Khan, ARY News. The deal had already been opened when the attackers tried to storm the building. After the attack ended, it continued. "Trading is going well and is going on," wrote broker Mohammed Sohail on Twitter.

Focus on political violence

Karachi has long been considered one of the hot spots of crime and political violence in Pakistan. The situation has stabilized in recent years, but there have been isolated attacks by militant groups.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army is one of numerous extremist groups active in the region. The US classifies the militia as a terrorist organization. Baluchistan is located in southwest Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan and Iran and is the poorest and most unstable province in the country. It is considered a stronghold of Islamist insurgents.

Several attacks

In the past few years, the BLA carried out several attacks across the country. Militia fighters killed five people in an attack on a luxury hotel in the southern Pakistani city of Gwadar in May last year.

The BLA has also repeatedly targeted Chinese institutions. The extremists believe that Baluchistan's residents will be excluded from the profits from large-scale Chinese infrastructure projects. (APA, June 29, 2020)

This report is continuously updated.