Pakistan: Karachi Stock Exchange attacked, at least 6 dead

Four armed men tried Monday, June 29, to enter the Stock Exchange of Karachi, Pakistan, the financial capital of the country. The attackers arrived in a sedan in front of the building and threw a grenade, before opening fire, according to Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon. At least six people died, including a police officer. The police characterized this attack as “terrorist”. The incident took place around 10 a.m. local time, i.e. 5 a.m. GMT.

The Edhi foundation, the main relief organization in Karachi, has for its part identified seven dead and as many injured, its official Faisal Edhi told Agence France-Presse. “Missed attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange” (PSX), commented an analyst, Mohammed Sohail, on Twitter. “The transactions are going smoothly and are continuing. The PSX benchmark is one of the best performing in Asia to date. It is the resilience of Pakistan. “

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A claimed attack

The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility on Twitter for an attack by elements of its “Majeed Brigade”, a unit of suicide bombers, which it claimed had “taken control of the area” for a while. She then shared a photo of four young men dressed in sand-colored trellises and holding Kalashnikovs in a desert landscape, according to her, the authors of the “suicide attack” of the day.

Bordering Afghanistan and Iran, Balochistan is the largest and poorest province in Pakistan, despite its deposits of hydrocarbons and minerals. It is also the most unstable: a separatist insurgency and Islamist violence have killed hundreds of people there in recent years. The BLA is not in its first attack on symbols of what it considers to be the spoliation of its resources by Islamabad.

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This group has repeatedly targeted Chinese interests in recent years, while Beijing is investing heavily in Pakistan as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), of which the deep-sea port of Gwadar (Baluchistan) is the flagship. This project aims to connect the western Chinese province of Xinjiang to the port of Gwadar. Many infrastructures – highways, power plants, hospitals, etc. – must be built within this framework. The CPEC will give Chinese products direct access to the Arabian Sea.

Exceptional attacks

In May 2019, the BLA attacked a luxury hotel overlooking the port of Gwadar, leaving five dead and six injured. In November 2018, he claimed responsibility for an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi by armed men. The attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange comes ten days after a grenade was launched in that city on a queue in front of a welfare office, killing one person and injuring eight others.

After a bloody decade, during which the attacks were daily, violence has dropped very sharply in Pakistan. Such attacks are the exception when they were previously the norm. The port city of Karachi, which for years has been hit by high crime, is now much safer after the territory is taken over by the security forces.

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