A terror attack targeting the Chinese Consulate situated in Karachi’s Clifton area was foiled by security forces on Friday, leaving at least seven people dead. Two policemen lost their lives due to multiple injuries caused by explosive material, while a private security guard was injured in the blast, Dr Seemin Jamali, JPMC Executive Director, said.
The police officers were identified as Assistant Sub Inspector Ashraf Dawood and Constable Amir, while the private security guard was identified as Muhammad Juman, according to police.
Two civilians, a father and son, named Zahir Shah and Abdul Karim, were also killed in the attack, Dr Jamali said.
Three terrorists were killed in the operation by security forces, according to Sindh Police and the army’s media wing.
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 while a clearance operation was initiated.
‘Firing outside the embassy’
Gunshots and multiple blasts were heard in the area at 9:30am. Images from the area showed smoke rising from the Chinese Consulate building, which also serves as the residence for Chinese diplomats and other staff.
The attackers first opened fire at a checkpost, then detonated a hand grenade in the area.
Additional Inspector General (AIG) Amir Shaikh said that the attackers had parked their vehicle at some distance from the embassy before moving towards it.
Footage of the scene outside the consulate at the time of the attack.
Defence analyst and security contractor Ikram Sehgal, whose company’s guards have been posted at the consulate, said that the attackers engaged in an exchange of fire with policemen.
After the policemen were martyred, he said, the attackers proceeded towards the gate of the consulate. However, the guards were quick to usher civilians with consular business into the building and shut the gates behind them.
Chinese staff at the embassy were taken to a main building, Sehgal added.
Muhammad Ashfaq, a police official quoted by the Associated Press, said that the attackers opened fire at the consulate guards and then managed to breach the main gate and enter 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 three terrorists killed. Weapons and explosive materials were recovered from the attackers, police said.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Javed Alam Odho told AFP that at least one attacker had been wearing a suicide vest which did not detonate.
Police and Rangers began a combined operation in the area, and the Bomb Disposal Squad began conducting a sweep to ensure there are no more explosive materials in the area.
Police said that all Chinese staffers “are safe and secure”. The security situation has been brought under control and all areas will soon be cleared, they added, and police have been deployed inside the consulate.
At 12:15pm, a Rangers spokesman told journalists that the search operation had been completed.
He added that all diplomatic staff is secure, and praised the Rangers, Police and FC personnel for their quick response to the attack.
“Explosives and weapons were taken into custody,” he said, adding that more details would be shared later.
‘In touch with Chinese officials’
Sindh police chief Syed Kaleem Imam and Chief Minister Murad Shah both reached the Chinese Consulate following the terror attack.
IGP Imam briefed the Chinese consul general about the successful combined operation conducted by security forces.
Governor Imran Ismail also took notice of the attack. The governor called for a report on the matter from the Sindh police chief.
The Foreign Office spokesman said that Islamabad is “in touch with the relevant agencies and will react quickly” to ascertain the facts.
PM, foreign minister condemn attack
Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also condemned the incident and praised the way the attack was foiled 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 that Pakistan and China would together defeat the forces that wish to halt development in the country.
Beijing also strongly condemned the attack and asked Pakistan to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in the country.