At least two police personnel were killed and one injured after gunmen opened fire outside the Chinese consulate in Karachi on Friday morning, Geo TV reported quoting Deputy Inspector General (South Karachi) Javed Alam Odho. The incident, in which the three assailants were also killed, took place around 9.30 am local time (10 am Indian Standard Time) at Clifton Block 4 in Karachi.
A separatist insurgent group called the Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack in Karachi, Reuters reported.
The three men attempted to enter the consulate and opened fire after they were stopped at a checkpoint, the news channel reported.
Karachi Police chief Amir Shaikh said that the attackers, who came in a vehicle, parked it at some distance from the consulate before attempting to enter it, Dawn reported. “There were three attackers and all three have been killed,” he said. “They could not even get in the compound. They tried to get into the visa section.”
As many as nine hand grenades, Kalashnikov bullets, magazines and explosives were recovered from the assailants, Shaikh added.
Jinnah Hospital spokesperson Dr Seemin Jamali confirmed that two bodies had been brought to the medical facility. He said that the wounded policeman was in a critical condition.
Pakistani Rangers personnel and policemen have been heavily deployed outside the consulate following the attacks, and roads leading to it have been cordoned off. Chinese embassy staff were escorted into the building after the attack. The police said all Chinese employees are “safe and secure”.
China strongly condemned the violent attack and urged Pakistan to take measures to ensure the safety of its citizens and organisations, PTI reported. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Pakistani policemen had prevented the gunmen from entering the consulate.
“We have asked the Pakistani side to take measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and organisations there,” said Geng. “At the same time, we mourn for the two policemen killed. We express our sympathy to the families and injured.”
Geng said Pakistan had taken “immediate, effective measures” to protect the consulate staff. “We highly appreciate the efforts made by Pakistan,” he said.
Soon after the attack on the consulate, a suicide bombing at a market in Orakzai claimed at least 25 lives.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attacks and “vowed to crush the terrorists”. “I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Chinese consulate in Karachi and in Orakzai tribal area,” Khan tweeted. “My prayers go to the victims and their families. Salute the brave security/police personnel who gave their lives and denied success to terrorists in the mission against the Chinese consulate.”
The prime minister said both these attacks are part of a “planned campaign to create unrest in the country by those who do not want Pakistan to prosper”.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs condemned the incident, ANI reported. “India strongly condemns terrorist attack on Chinese Consulate in Karachi,” the ministry’s statement read. “We condole loss of lives in this dastardly attack. There can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. The perpetrators of this heinous attack should be brought to justice expeditiously.”