KARACHI: A week after Karachi witnessed a minor blast by “sub-nationalist groups” that had killed two people, separatist outfit Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) reportedly attacked the Chinese consulate, which, however, was foiled by the police officers. All the three attackers were killed in the operation.
The BLA reportedly admitted the responsibility for the attack via its Twitter presence.
It identified the terrorists as Azal Khan Baloch, Raziq Baloch and Raees Baloch of the BLA’s Majeed Brigade.
#Pakistan UPDATE Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) affirms “Fidayeen Sarbaz of BLA Majeed Brigade, Azal Khan Baloch, Raziq Baloch and Raees Baloch embraced martyrdom in a Fidayee attack on Chinese consulate in #Karachi“. @StateDept @CIA @jrossman12 @jihadi_threat @MFS001 pic.twitter.com/LHaeOynCwB
— Rosanna (@RosannaMrtnz) November 23, 2018
According to security sources, the attack was allegedly masterminded by a former BLA commander, Aslam Achoo, who is reportedly under “treatment at the Max Hospital in New Delhi” after being injured in an operation by Pakistani security forces near Sibi, Balochistan.
It may be mentioned here the Balochistan government spokesperson, in 2016, had claimed that Achoo had been killed in the military operation.
The operation had left several BLA terrorists dead, sources said, adding that the wounded BLA commander had succeeded in fleeing to India.
Achoo is said to be involved in several incidents of terrorism and targeted killings in Quetta. He is also accused of killing lawyers, police personnel, journalists and doctors, the sources added.
Meanwhile, JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali said that two policemen, identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Ashraf Dawood and Constable Amir, lost their lives due to multiple injuries caused by explosive material, while a private security guard, Muhammad Juman, was injured in the blast.
Two civilians — Zahir Shah and his son Abdul Karim — were also killed in the attack. The father-son duo had come to the consulate from Quetta to collect their visas.
According to details, the attackers first opened fire at a security checkpost, then detonated a hand grenade in the area.
After killing the police guards, the terrorists managed to breach the main gate and entered the building. Shortly after, the Rangers arrived in the area and an hour-long exchange of fire took place between security forces and the attackers, leaving all the three assailants dead.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Javed Alam Odho told reporters that at least one attacker had been wearing a suicide vest which did not detonate.
He further said that the men came to the consulate in a car which was loaded with explosives, adding that the attackers had parked their vehicle at some distance from the establishment before moving towards it.
Nine hand grenades, Kalashnikov bullets, magazines and explosives were recovered from the possession of the terrorists, police said. “Food supplies and medicines were also recovered from their possession,” officials added.
The heavily-guarded E-Street neighbourhood, which is considered a red zone, is home to a number of upscale restaurants, diplomatic missions and schools. The schools and eateries were locked down until a clearance operation is concluded.
Following the operation, security officials told journalists that all the Chinese staffers, who also use the consulate as residence, are “are safe and secure” and the situation had been brought under control. Explosives and weapons were recovered from the site, they said.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Sindh IG Kaleem Imam both reached the Chinese Consulate following the terror attack.
The IG briefed the consul general about the successful combined operation conducted by security forces. He also congratulated Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Suhai Aziz Talpur ─ who has been handed the charge of SP ─ for spearheading the successful security operation.
The Sindh IG briefed the attendees regarding the attack. “We have evidence regarding BLA’s involvement in the attack,” the Sindh IG said.
— norbert almeida (@norbalm) November 23, 2018
Shortly after the incident, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi condemned the incident and praised the way the attack was handled by the law enforcement agencies.
“This was a sad incident. The two terrorists involved in the incident have been killed. We are in contact with the Chinese consul general,” the foreign minister said.
He added: “Pakistan and China together will defeat the forces that wish to halt development [in the country].”
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has taken notice of the incident and called for a report on the matter from the Sindh inspector general of police. The governor has also contacted Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. The chief minister then telephoned the Sindh additional IG and issued instructions to send additional contingents of forces to the consulate.
THREE TERRORISTS KILLED: ISPR
The military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, said: “Terrorists attempted to enter Chinese consulate. Rangers and police have got control. Three terrorists killed. All Chinese safe. The situation is under control.”