Armed gunmen attack Pearl Continental in Gwadar

Security forces have arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area

Security forces have arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area

A spokesman for the Zaver Pearl-Continental Hotel in the port of Gwadar said there were few guests because of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Sources said that the gunmen entered the hotel promises at around 5pm.

All foreign and local guests staying at the hotel had been safely evacuated, Express Tribune quoted Balochistan Information Minister Zahoor Buledi as saying. The reports also claimed that the armed terrorists still holed up in one of the floors. Police said that in addition to the guard killed by the attackers, at least two other people were wounded but there was no final casualty total.

When quick reaction forces from the army, navy and police arrived, they evacuated guests and staff and trapped the fighters on the fourth floor of the hotel.

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan said: "We appreciate the courageous steps taken by Pakistan Army and security agencies". "Pakistani nation and its security forces shall defeat them all", Khan vowed, paying "rich tributes to shaheeds [martyrs] and injured security personnel", according to a statement issued by his office.

The ensuing gunfight lasted several hours, the military statement said all the attackers were killed. "Such attempts, especially in Balochistan are an effort to sabotage our economic projects and prosperity", he said.

Balochistan is home to a number of militant groups seeking autonomy or independence from Pakistan. The military had said on Saturday that there were three gunmen.

Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan said Saturday's attack in Gwadar was a clear picture of how their enemies didn't want to see Balochistan progress.

Pakistan aims for Gwadar - located on the Arabian Sea near Iran and the mouth of the Persian Gulf - to become a regional commercial, industrial and shipping hub, as part of the ambitious CPEC project.

The port of Gwadar part of a 62-billion-dollar Chinese project to build trade routes to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

The BLA has targeted Chinese workers in Pakistan multiple times, including during a brazen daylight attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi that killed four people in November past year.