KARACHI   -  As many as three to four men wearing pant shirts and carrying weapons rushed towards the Consulate of China in the morning, narrated a women residing near the attack site. First they hurled hand grenades at the consulate gate and then opened heavy firing, said the resident of Saba Avenue, Block IV of Clifton.

Other witnesses said that the attackers managed to reach the security post at the consulate gate and shot down two policemen posted there, besides destroying the post. The terrorists were trying to get inside the consulate from the Visa Section Entry gate, they added.

A private company security guard posted at the Visa Section revealed that as many as 18 people – including three guards, six clerical staff and nine other officials of the consulate – were present inside the Visa Section and they locked themselves from the inside when they heard gunshots and blasts at around 9:12am. The armed men tried to force their entry but we had locked the door and reinforced it by placing a cupboard, he said. They were firing bullets at the door most of which crossed through it and we were laying down on the floor to avoid being hit, while some of us found refuge in the washrooms.

Soon after hearing gunshots and explosions, the consulate staff had informed the police of the apparent terrorist attack at the emergency helpline number 15. The response was quick as heavy contingents of police arrived at the scene within 10 minutes and started operation.

“We kept hearing gunshots for around two hours and during the entire period we did not move from our positions in order to avoid harm,” the security guard said. There a number of schools in the area and many van drivers, after dropping off the children, were still in the vicinity.

Haider was one such driver who informed The Nation that parents of the children got panicked as soon as the news of the attack spread. Most of them rushed to schools to move their children to safety. He said that traffic in the area got stuck due to the rush.

The driver said that minutes after they heard first gunshots, heavy contingents of police and rangers reached there and cordon off the entire area. It took almost three hours to the situation to return to normalcy, he added.