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Post-Incident Report: Karachi Stock Exchange Attack

A post-incident report providing a brief yet informative insight into what happened during the attack on the Karachi Stock Exchange in Pakistan on the 29th June 2020.

Early on Monday 29th June, four gunmen affiliated with the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) carried out an armed attack at the Karachi Stock Exchange. The gunmen are believed to have intended to storm the building and then held out in a prolonged siege (as large amounts of ammunition and supplies were found in their possession.) However, they were killed during a shootout with guards at an entrance on Kattyan Road, alongside the stock exchange building. Three security guards and a police officer were killed during the firefight, as well as the four attackers.

Screenshot from a video of the attack and the incident mapped on Intelligence Fusion's platform
FIGURE 1: The image on the left is a screenshot from a video of the Karachi Stock Exchange Attack. The image on the right is the location of the attack geolocated on a map. [Source: Intelligence Fusion]


Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)

The BLA is a separatist group which operates in the Balochistan Region of Pakistan and has fought a violent campaign demanding self-determination for Baloch people. The group frequently targets security forces as well as foreign assets, particularly Chinese assets. Targets have included labourers working in Chinese-backed projects, mining staff and Chinese business assets.

Map showing recent activity from the Balochistan Liberation Army
FIGURE 2: Map showing other high profile attacks carried out by the Balochistan Liberation Army. [Source: Intelligence Fusion]


The group has carried out a similar high-profile attack in Karachi before, as in 2018, BLA militants attempted to attack the Chinese Consulate in Karachi. A separate incident saw the group carry out an attack an at a hotel in Gwadar often used by visiting Chinese business officials. The stock exchange is believed to have been targeted in response to a sale of Pakistan Stock Exchange shares in late 2016-early 2017 to a Chinese consortium. 40% of the stock exchange’s shares were sold, significantly increasing Chinese influence.

Released image of the Karachi Stock Exchange Attackers in June 2020
FIGURE 3: An image released shows the identity of the four attackers involved in the Karachi Stock Exchange incident on 29th June 2020. 


The four attackers were part of the BLA’s Majeed Brigade, which is considered an elite part of the BLA and carries out suicide attacks. The Majeed Group is named after Abdul Majeed Baloch, who was a security guard who attempted to assassinate former Pakistani PM Zulfiqar Bhutto.

The BLA also operates in Afghanistan where the security situation is volatile and conducive to hosting militants in remote border areas and in Kandahar City. The day before the Karachi attack, a BLA compound was allegedly targeted by a VBIED in Afghanistan’s Kandahar City. It is not clear if there was any link between the Karachi and the Kandahar incidents.


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