GILGIT: Three policemen were martyred and two others suffered injuries while two wanted terrorists — who are said to be involved in terrorist activities in Diamer including the 2013 Nanga Parbat tourists’ killing — were killed and another was injured in a gun battle near here early Saturday morning.
According to police, a group of terrorists comprising eight to 10 members attacked the police check-post at Karghah Nullah, some 20km off Gilgit town, at about 4am.
The terrorists opened fire on the check-post, causing the death of head constable Fazlur Rehman and constables Nawab Khan and Muhammad Wakeel on the spot and injuries to constables Zeeshan and Ziaul Rehman.
Gun battle leaves two attackers dead; in separate incident DC House in Chilas fired upon
The policemen fired back killing two attackers and injuring another.
The check-post was manned by six policemen and one of them, a constable, remained unharmed. He informed his seniors about the incident and managed to shift the injured to the district headquarters hospital, Gilgit, where their condition is said to be stable.
One of the attackers killed in the gun battle was identified as Khalil, a leading figure among the terrorists carrying head money of Rs3 million, said Superintendent of Police Tanveerul Hasan.
Khalil was wanted in several acts of terrorism in Diamer, including the murder of nine foreign tourists at Nanga Parbat, the official added. He was also suspected of being involved in the murder of three security officials in Chilas in 2013.
Umar, another high-profile terrorist, was injured in the encounter. Later his body found in the proximity of Kargah check-post.
The surviving terrorists managed to take away their injured accomplice with them.
The attackers originally belonged to Diamer and had fled back to their area after the gun battle, SP Hasan said.
The SP praised the valour of the policemen who had killed two wanted terrorists and raised the morale of the local police, saying, “It [the encounter] is our [Gilgit police] success.”
Following the incident, security along various nullahs connecting Diamer district with the Gilgit area has been enhanced.
According to sources, police believe that the terrorists involved in the attack came from Diamer district through Kargah Nullah. Various nullahs connect Diamer district with Gilgit and Ghizer district.
Many terrorists involved in different terrorist activities in Diamer have taken shelter in the mountainous areas of Diamer.
An ongoing search operation launched after the recent torching of 14 schools, most of them belonging to girls, in Diamer has compelled the terrorists to try to flee from the area through nullahs.
Police sources said that the terrorists (involved in Saturday’s shootout) “are most likely involved in the arson attacks on Diamer schools”.
Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Home Secretary Jawad Akram told Dawn that a targeted operation was under way in Diamer for arrest of the terrorist allegedly involved in the attacks on schools.
Firing at DC House
In another apparent reaction to the search operation, gunmen attacked the residence of Deputy Commissioner of Diamer, Dildar Malik, in wee hours of Saturday.
Bullets fired by the gunmen hit outer walls of the DC House in Chilas, SP of 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.
SP Ajmal said police had mounted search to apprehend the attackers.
Meanwhile, a bulldozer parked at the site of a development project was set on fire in Khambri village of Darel Valley, Diamer.
Speaking at a press conference, GB’s Law Minister Aurangzeb Khan, Adviser on Information Shams Mir and Deputy Inspector General of police Gohar Nafees denied involvement of foreign and country-wide terrorist organisations in the police check-post attack.
They claimed that the actual target of the terrorists was Gilgit town but the brave police have stopped the terrorists at Kargah Nullah before they could enter the town.
They paid tribute to the gallant policemen who sacrificed their lives or sustained injuries to save Gilgit from a major disaster.
Later in the day, funeral prayers of the three policemen martyred in the Kargah attack were offered in Gilgit. The martyred and the injured policemen belonged to the Baseen area in Gilgit.
The funeral prayers were attended by GB Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman and Force Commander Northern Areas Maj Gen Saqib Mahmud, besides other civil and military officials.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2018