New Delhi: The three terrorists who had stormed a five-star hotel in Pakistan’s Balochistan in Gwadar were reportedly killed. They held a number of foreigners hostage inside before opening fire at the security forces, who were trying to evacuate the patrons to safety. A security guard who tried to stop terrorists from entering the hotel was shot dead, said ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations, military’s media wing).

As per preliminary reports, as many as 95 per cent guests of the five-star were moved to a secure location by the armed forces. The armed men entered the upscale Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel and opened random firing, a senior police official said. A guard at the entrance challenged the terrorists who opened fire and killed him, the army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility of the attack which it said was carried out by the militants linked with its Majeed Brigade group.

The anti-terrorism force, the Army, the Frontier Corps and additional police force are all present at the hotel, Gwadar Station House Officer (SHO) Aslam Bangulzai said. Army said that terrorists were encircled by security forces in a staircase leading to the top floor and clearance operation was in progress. Locals said several gunshots were heard after the terrorists entered the luxury hotel.

Gwadar port is one of the focal points of the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with many Chinese workers from other provinces of Pakistan working at the port.
Home Minister Mir Zia Langove told TV channels that some people inside the hotel had been injured in the firing but could not confirm if there were any casualties or how many were injured.

The hotel, frequented by business as well as leisure travellers, is located on the Koh-e-Batil hill, south of West Bay on Fish Harbour road in Gwadar. Frontier Corps personnel have cordoned off the hotel. All foreign and local guests staying at the hotel have been safely evacuated, Express Tribune quoted Balochistan Information Minister Zahoor Buledi as saying.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani condemned “the terrorists attack” on PC Hotel, and called for a “well planned and strong action against the terrorists.” He added that he is “in touch with police and local administration” regarding the situation.

(With agency inputs)