Gunmen Attack Pakistan Stock Exchange In Karachi
NOEL KING, HOST:
In Pakistan this morning, gunmen stormed the stock exchange in Karachi. It's the country's financial capital. Four gunmen and a police officer and two security guards were killed. A separatist group has claimed responsibility. Here's NPR's Diaa Hadid in Islamabad.
DIAA HADID, BYLINE: The attack occurred Monday morning as people were arriving for work.
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)
HADID: Those gunshots and wailing ambulances were recorded by Syed Naqash. He works in a building facing the exchange.
SYED NAQASH: I have seen four people entering Pakistan stock exchange. First they killed two security guards on the front gate, and then they tried to enter the second door.
HADID: He's clearly shaken from what he saw.
NAQASH: I can't explain my feelings right now because I'm totally scared.
HADID: Another video posted to social media appears to show security forces rushing in past two men lying motionless on the floor.
HADID: And another shows workers of a charity ambulance service. They wear red T-shirts, and they wheel out a security guard on a gurney.
(SOUNDBITE OF CLANGING)
HADID: The last major terrorist attack in Karachi was in late 2018, when gunmen stormed the grounds of the Chinese Consulate. That attack, like this one, was claimed by a separatist group that demands independence for Balochistan. That's Pakistan's largest province. It's rich with minerals but sparsely populated, and it's very poor. There's been a low-level insurgency there for years, and human rights workers say hundreds of Baloch activists have disappeared. But many Pakistanis fear their nuclear-armed rival, India, is supporting the separatist group known as the Balochistan Liberation Army as a way of creating instability within Pakistan.
MOSHARRAF ZAIDI: There's no question in my mind that this is funded and supported by the Indian state. There's also no question in my mind that the Indian state wants it to be perceived that it is behind these things.
HADID: That's Mosharraf Zaidi. He's a director of a think tank, a podcaster and a columnist.
ZAIDI: All the incentives are aligned for India to continue to chip away at Pakistan's defenses.
HADID: So far, Pakistan hasn't officially commented, nor has India. But rights activists fear that this attack will provoke another surge of arrests and disappearances, fueling more anger at the Pakistani state.
Diaa Hadid, NPR News, Islamabad.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.