At least three policemen were martyred and two others sustained injuries when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a police checkpost in Kargah Nala area of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) early on Saturday, police said.

Five or six militants attacked the Kargah Police Checkpost in Joot area, some 40 kilometres from Gilgit, at around 5am, Superintendent of Police (SP) Gilgit Tanvirul Hassan told DawnNewsTV.

Twelve police personnel were present at the checkpost at the time of the attack. Three foot constables (FC), namely Nawaz, Fazal and Wakeel were martyred in the firing. FC Zeshan and FC Zia were injured and were shifted to District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Gilgit for medical attention.

According to SP Hassan, one of the assailants was killed, and another injured in retaliatory fire by the police. The rest of the attackers fled the scene after dropping their weapons.

According to Deputy Inspector General Gohar Nafees the assailant killed in the encounter, known as Commander Khalil, had a bounty of Rs3 million on his head. He was nominated in multiple cases related to terrorism, including the murder of nine foreign tourists in Nanga Parbat in 2013. He was also suspected of being involved in the murder of three security officials in Chilas in 2013.

A second attacker, identified as Commander Umar is injured, police say. Both the attackers belonged to Diamer.

Residence of deputy commissioner attacked

The attack came hours after unknown assailants opened fire on the residence of Diamer Deputy Commissioner Dildar Malik.

DC Diamer Dildar Malik. — Photo by author
DC Diamer Dildar Malik. — Photo by author

The bullets fired by the gunmen early on Saturday morning hit the outer walls of the DC's house, SP Diamer Mohammad Ajmal said, adding that it appeared that the assailants had opened fire from a distance. DC Malik, who was present in the house, remained safe in the incident.

SP Ajmal said police started a search operation to apprehend the assailants soon after the firing incident; however, they had managed to escape.

Meanwhile, a bulldozer parked at the site of a development project was set on fire in GB's Khambri village.

The latest violence in GB come days after suspected militants set fire to more than a dozen schools in Diamer. According to officials, 12 schools were partially damaged while two schools were completely torched using incendiary material.