According to a police statement, one sub-inspector and three security guards were martyred in the attack. Seven people, including three police officials, have been injured, the statement said, DAWN reported.
The attackers, armed with grenades and automatic rifles, launched the attack and attempted to enter the PSX compound, which is in a high-security zone that also houses the head offices of several banks.
Security personnel, including police and Rangers, intercepted the attackers and killed all four of them, Sindh Rangers said. A clearance operation was conducted later.
Police said that advanced weaponry, hand grenades and explosive material was recovered from the terrorists’ custody. Officials of the Bomb Disposal Unit also arrived at the scene of the attack and scoured the site, including a “suspected car” parked outside PSX that may have been used by the terrorists, for any explosive material.
The Karachi additional inspector general of police directed officials to tighten the security of all important offices and trading centres across the city after the attack.
Rizwan Ahmed, a police official at the scene, told AP that food supplies were found on the bodies of the gunmen, indicating they may have planned a long siege, which police quickly thwarted.
Three attackers identified
Three of the four attackers were identified through their fingers prints as Salman, Tasleem Baloch and Siraj, all of whom belonged to Balochistan’s Kech area, senior CTD official Raja Umar Khattab said in the evening.
The four militants were aged between 20 and 30 years and suffered multiple bullet wounds, according to police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi.
One of the attackers was killed at a distance of 25 feet from their car, another at 26 feet, third at 300 feet and fourth at 312 feet, Khattab added.
The car was purchased by Salman from a showroom located at Old Subzi Mandi by paying cash for which he had also submitted his original CNIC, the record of which was possessed by the Excise Department.
According to Khattab, the attackers drove from Gharibabad interchange of Lyari Expressway and used Mauripur Road for the attack. The CTD has launched a probe after obtaining evidence, he added.
Sindh Rangers Director General Omer Ahmed Bukhari, during a press conference in the afternoon, said that the terrorists were eliminated within eight minutes. He told reporters that the attackers arrived at the scene in a car at 10:02am and they were killed by security forces by 10:10am.
Once the attackers were killed, security personnel carried out a clearance operation and normalcy was restored to the area within 30-35 minutes.
He said that the terrorists had planned a long assault, that included bloodshed and holding people inside the building hostage. All the attackers were equipped with AK47s, hand grenades and food.
The DG said that a tweet had been posted in which the attack has been attributed to the Balochistan Liberation Army outfit, adding that a final statement on it will be issued after investigation.
In response to a question, the DG acknowledged that the attack bore similarities to an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that was carried out by BLA militants in 2018.
Bukhari added that the possibility of the involvement of foreign agencies, especially India’s Research and Analysis Wing, cannot be ruled out, saying that such attacks are not “stand-alone incidents” and cannot take place without the aid of “outside intelligence agencies”.
“Straightaway, I can assure you that this terrorist incident cannot have taken place without [the help of an] outside agency. And among them, RAW’s frustration is apparent to all of you,” he said.
Responding to a question, Bukhari denied the suggestion that the attack represented an intelligence failure, adding that security forces’ response was “in place” and the militants “could not achieve any of their motives”.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon also backed Bukhari’s statement, saying that since the attack on Chinese consulate, there have been other attempts that were foiled by security agencies. He said that it was a triumph for the country’s security forces as they had responded promptly and thwarted the motives of the attackers.
“We were prepared when they came, we had a good response, we had good coordination with intelligence,” he said.
Bukhari said that the militants may have wanted to show that they have the ability to target high-profile places but they had been humiliated because they were eliminated within minutes. The Sindh Rangers DG said that investor confidence in the country had increased.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi in a tweet paid tribute to the “brave officers and sepoys who averted the terrorist attack”.
“Our LEAs are fully prepared, ready and standing strong against such coward acts of attacking a civilian office,” he wrote.