GILGIT, Aug 6: Suspected militants killed an army colonel, a captain and a senior superintendent of police (SSP) in an ambush on the latter’s vehicle in the remote northern town of Chilas, headquarters of Diamer district, on Monday night.
DSP Mohammad Navid says the attack had taken place at Ronai point near the residence of the deputy commissioner when the officials were returning after attending a meeting convened by him to discuss intelligence reports that high-profile personalities were likely to be targeted by militants.
Mr Navid said initial investigation suggested that about eight militants had taken part in the attack.
He said the SSP was facing threats because he had launched a massive operation in the area to arrest absconding criminals and those sheltering outlaws.
“We are conducting a search and trying to arrest the attackers. A senior police official, Ali Sher, is commanding the operation.”
He said GB Scouts, Frontier Constabulary and police personnel had sealed all exit points and a door-to-door search was under way.
The DSP said 12 suspects had been detained for interrogation.
He did not say how and in which direction the attackers had escaped. He said the motive of the attack was to divert the attention of investigators from the recent killings of foreign mountaineers near Nanga Parbat.
He said police had zeroed in on the perpetrators of the Nanga Parbat attack and were about to arrest them when this fresh assault was made.
According to media reports the Waziristan-based banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack on the security officials.
The bodies of Col Ghulam Mustafa, Capt Ashfaq and SSP Hilal Ahmed were flown to their native areas in an army helicopter.
Administration officials said the SSP was on the hit list because of demolition of houses of local militants after the murder of a deputy superintendent of police some time ago and the arrest of dozens of outlaws.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah condemned the attack, while Advocate Amjad, a legislator from the region, described it as a challenge to the writ of the state.
Reuters adds: The Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the June 22-23 pre-dawn attack when gunmen dressed as policemen stormed a base camp of Nanga Parbat, killing 10 foreign climbers and a local guide.
“These officers were investigating the killings of foreigners,” a security official told Reuters.