KARACHI: In yet another gun attack on law enforcers in the city, an officer of traffic police and his official driver were killed on their way to regulate traffic in Azizabad on Friday morning.
The responsibility for the latest attack was claimed by the recently established militant group, Ansarul Sharia Pakistan, which had previously claimed responsibility for the killing of four policemen in an attack in June.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Hanif Khan, 56, and his driver, constable Sultan Ishtiaq, 54, were passing by a private school near Mukka Chowk in Azizabad when two armed motorcyclists opened fire on them and fled, said Central SSP Muqaddas Haider.
SSP Haider said it was morning rush hour while the DSP was in his official car when armed motorcyclists opened fire on him and sped away leaving behind a pamphlet.
Witnesses told the police that there were two attackers on the motorbike, added the officer.
The police officers sustained critical bullet wounds and were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors declared them dead on arrival, said police surgeon Dr Aijaz Khokhar.
The officers sustained five bullet wounds each on their chest and head, added Dr Khokhar.
Police investigators collected 20 spent bullet casings fired from 9mm pistol, according to the SSP.
SSP Muqaddas Haider told Dawn that the police also collected a pamphlet from the crime scene. In the pamphlet, the purported spokesperson of Ansarul Sharia Pakistan, Dr Abdullah Hashmi, said the attack was ‘revenge’ for alleged torture of militants in jail and alleged ‘undesirable’ attitude of law enforcers toward families of the militants during operations.
The pamphlet also contained a warning that if the law enforcers did not stop the killing of militants in ‘fake encounters’, the revenge would be more horrible.
This was the second attack claimed by this outfit, as previously it had claimed responsibility for the targeted killing of four policemen in SITE by throwing a pamphlet at the crime scene in June.
Banned outfits ‘active’ again
Sindh police chief A.D. Khowaja and Additional IG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi of the Counter-Terrorism Department visited the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
Talking to the media, IGP Khowaja apprehended that banned and sectarian outfits had become ‘active’ once again in Karachi. He believed that both the traffic officials were attacked because they were ‘soft targets’.
So far, 16 policemen have been martyred in the city only this year, said the police chief.
Meanwhile, Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo, AIG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi and DIG West Zulfiqar Larik visited the crime scene.
AIG Thebo told the media that the officer was passing through the area as a matter of routine when he was attacked.
“It appeared that the attackers targeted the DSP after reconnaissance.”
AIG Thebo claimed that the investigators had ‘traced’ links in two previous attacks on policemen and hoped this case would also be solved. However, he did not elaborate.
Dr Abbasi told the media that investigation into the targeted killings of the policemen was moving in “positive direction”. He said that the “terrorist” of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Qari Shakir, was running “factories” in the city.
Qari Shakir, alias Mufti Shakir, was believed to be leading a group of militants, which was allegedly involved in the killing of policemen in the city, according to CTD officials.
The CTD had recently claimed to have killed three militants linked with Mufti Shakir-led group in an ‘encounter’ in Machhar Colony.
Mufti Shakir was currently hiding in Afghanistan.
Funeral prayer for the martyred officials was held at the SSU headquarters at Hasan Square.
The chief minister, home minister, corps commander, IGP Sindh, DG Rangers and other senior officers attended the funeral
Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal announced Rs10 million reward for any information leading to the arrest of the culprits. He said the name of the informer would be kept secret.
Expressing sympathy with the heirs of the victims, the police chief vowed that the culprits would be brought to justice soon.
“Such cowardly attacks would not dampen the resolve of the police to fight terrorism,” he added.
Friday’s attack on police personnel was the latest in a series of assaults on law enforcers in the city. Almost all the attacks were carried out on Fridays, said the officials.
On May 21, two policemen were shot dead while another was wounded by armed pillion riders in an attack on a stationery police van in the Bahadurabad area.
On June 23, four policemen were shot dead by armed pillion riders at a roadside eatery in the SITE area.
The suspects, before fleeing, had thrown a pamphlet in which Ansarul Sharia Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.
On July 21, three policemen and a passerby boy were shot dead by six suspects riding three motorcycles in the Korangi area.
Four days later, a traffic policeman was shot dead while another official was wounded by armed pillion riders at the busy Paradise Bakery Chowk, now named after the slain traffic constable Mohammad Khan, on Abul Hasan Ispahani Road in Gulshan-i-Iqbal.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017