Gwadar, May 11 (Dawn): A clearance operation is taking place at the Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel in Gwadar after “three terrorists” stormed the facility and killed a security guard before going into hiding on the top floor, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing.
The ISPR said that the terrorists attempted to force their way into the hotel and were challenged by the security guard, who was fired at and lost his life.
“Security forces have cordoned off the area and encircled the terrorists on the stairs leading to the top floor,” it further said, adding that “guests have been safely evacuated” from the hotel.
Earlier, Gwadar Station House Officer (SHO) Aslam Bangulzai said that “at around 4:50pm we got reports that there are three to four armed men in PC Hotel.”
The SHO said that “additional police force, ATF (Anti-terrorism force) and army are all present” to handle the situation.
The police official further said “the firing is ongoing but there are no reports of any casualties yet”. However, provincial Home Minister Mir Zia Langove said that “some people present inside the hotel have been injured from the terrorists’ firing.”
He refused to say how many hotel staffers were present in the hotel at the time of the attack but confirmed that “most of the people have been safely evacuated.”
SHO Bangulzai said that there were no foreigners at the hotel — a point corroborated by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohsin Hassan Butt.
The IGP also confirmed that “two to three gunmen had first fired at and then entered the hotel,” adding that “95 per cent of the hotel has been evacuated.”
The provincial police chief further said that “the attackers may have come in a boat to launch the attack.”
Frontier Corps personnel have cordoned off the hotel and no one is allowed to go near the area, DawnNewsTV reported citing police sources.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani condemned “the terrorists attack” on PC Hotel, and instructed the authorities to “ensure the safety of all inside the hotel”.
The chief minister called for a “well planned and strong action against the terrorists”, adding that he is “in touch with police and local administration” regarding the situation.
The Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel in Gwadar, is located on the Koh-e-Batil Hill, south of West Bay on Fish Harbour Road. The five-star hotel is frequented by both business and leisure travellers.
The attack comes just weeks after 14 people, including 11 personnel of Navy, Air Force and Coast Guards, were killed by gunmen near Ormara in Gwadar.
China is currently working with the federal government to developGwadar port to facilitate connectivity and trade. Beijing is investing around $50 billion in Pakistan as part of a plan unveiled in 2015 to link its far-western Xinjiang region to Gwadar port in Balochistan with a series of infrastructure, power and transport upgrades.
(The featured image at the top shows the five star Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar, Pakistan)