A group of separatist insurgents has claimed responsibility for the attack on Pakistan’s stock exchange that was repelled by security forces, officials said on Monday.
At least seven people including four terrorists were killed in the attack in the city of Karachi claimed by Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).
The group has also shared the names of the terrorists.
Two security guards and a police officer were also among the dead at the building, Raja Umar Khattab, head of the counterterrorism department, said.
Four gunmen armed with automatic rifles stormed the building at around 10.00 a.m. (0500 GMT).
They carried out a grenade attack at the entrance when they encountered guards.
The gunmen were carrying a huge cache of arms and ammunition and wanted to enter the trading hall, but security forces responded within minutes and were able to keep them out.
Local media aired images of security forces clearing the area after intermittent gunfire and explosions were heard from the premises.
“It was a serious attack but fortunately, the terrorists could not manage to enter the main compound,” Farrukh Khan, managing director of the Pakistan Stock Exchange, told ARY news.
He said that trading had started when the attackers stormed the building.
More than 1,000 traders and staff were in the building at the time of attack, according to the reports.
There were fewer people in the compound than normal due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The BLA has been officially banned in Pakistan since 2006 and was classified by the United States as a global terrorist group in July last year.
In August 2018 a suicide attack targeting Chinese engineers in Balochistan and an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi in November were carried out by the BLA.
Baloch rebels are fighting for independence in Pakistan’s largest province, Balochsitan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
After Monday’s attack, Pakistani authorities pointed the finger at arch-rival India, with whom Islamabad has fought three wars since both countries gained independence in 1947.
“Make no mistake, today’s attack in Karachi is state-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan,” said Moeed Yusuf, special assistant to prime minister on national security.
“The world must wake up to suicidal tendencies of this destabilising factor that is finding distractions to overcome its own failures and embarrassment.
“Our warnings have come true repeatedly. Whether on demographic re-engineering in Kashmir or sponsored terrorism against Pakistan,” Yusuf said.
“Possibility of the involvement of foreign agencies, especially India’s Research and Analysis Wing, cannot be ruled out,” Major General Umar Bukhari, divisional head of the paramilitary force the Pakistan Rangers, said at a press conference.