Militants attacked the stock exchange in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Monday, killing at least three people — two guards and a policeman, according to police.
There were no reports of any wounded among the brokers and employees inside the exchange and a separatist militant group from a neighbouring province later claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attackers were armed with grenades and automatic rifles, police said.
They launched the attack by opening fire at the entrance gate of the Pakistan Stock Exchange in the southern port city, the country’s financial centre.
Local television stations broadcast images of police in full body armour surrounding the building but still staying outside the high-walled compound of the stock exchange.
Rizwan Ahmend, a police official at the scene, said that after opening fire, the gunmen entered the stock exchange grounds.
He said that after the attack was over, food supplies were found on the bodies of the gunmen, indicating they may have planned a long siege, which police quickly thwarted.
Inside the stock exchange, broker Yaqub Memon told The Associated Press that he and others were huddled inside their offices while the attack was under way.
Shazia Jehan, a police spokesman, said the bomb disposal team was also called to the stock exchange to clear the building of any explosive devices.
Later, the Baluchistan Liberation Army, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The group has been demanding independence for Pakistan’s gas-rich south-western Baluchistan province, which borders the southern Sindh province, where Karachi is the provincial capital.
The group also circulated to the media a photograph of four men in full body armour and camouflage outfits, saying they were the militants who attacked the stock exchange.
The Karachi stock exchange is Pakistan’s largest and oldest stock exchange, incorporated today with the exchanges in Islamabad and Lahore.
The Baluchistan Liberation Army has carried out a series of attacks in Karachi in recent years, including an attack on the Chinese Consulate in November 2018 that killed two people.
The Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is located in Baluchistan, and is part of China’s multibillion-dollar one-road project linking south and Central Asia to China.
The Baluchistan militant group has opposed the one-road project including a road connecting the Gwadar port to the Chinese border.