Hundreds of officers live inside the compound with their families. Firing could still be heard hours after the gunbattle started.
This comes just weeks after a bomb blast at a police mosque in the country’s northwest killed over 80 officers. Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant attacks since November when Pakistani Taliban ended a monthslong cease-fire with the government.
Here’s what we know so far:
Two people have been killed and at least one security official wounded, said Ghulam Nabi Memon, police chief for the southern Sindh province where Karachi is located. Karachi police chief Javed Alam Odho confirmed that an attack was ongoing and said police and paramilitary troops were responding. Earlier, TV footage showed officers surrounding the city’s central police station.
Residents said they also heard the sound of explosions amid the clashes.
“Some of the militants entered via the backside of the building while two entered from the main gate wearing police uniforms,” Odho said.
Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility
Pakistani Taliban in a brief statement has claimed responsibility for the assault. Sharjeel Memon, the Sindh province’s spokesman, said the attackers had been surrounded although shooting and fighting were still underway.
“Our Mujahideen martyrs have attacked Karachi Police Office. More details to follow,” a spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan said in a WhatsApp message to AFP.
Multiple explosions and firing were heard. “Can’t exactly tell how many terrorists have entered but there are at least more than five,” Deputy Inspector General Irfan Baloch told Reuters.
Police sealed off traffic on the main thoroughfare through the city and heavy contingents of security forces, including paramilitary soldiers, had arrived at the scene. The attackers hurled hand grenades from the backyard of the police head office and later they entered the four-storey building from the same route.
There could be eight to ten ‘armed terrorists’.
A spokesperson for the Sindh Rangers said initial estimates suggest there are eight to ten “armed terrorists”, Dawn reported.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has taken cognisance of the situation and directed the relevant DIGs to send personnel from their zones.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemns attack
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack and have sought a report on the incident. He hailed the police and security forces for action against the “terrorists”.
He asked the interior minister to extend the government’s full cooperation in the operation adding that the need for collective action to root out the menace of terrorism.