Five officials from the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), including a sub-inspector, were martyred while four more were injured after an exchange of fire during a police raid to apprehend wanted criminals in Chilas, the district headquarter for Diamer, officials said on Tuesday.
According to police, the incident took place a few kilometres from Chilas, at Ronai village, during the early hours of Tuesday morning. Two civilians were also killed during the shootout while the suspected criminals managed to flee the scene, they said.
Gilgit-Baltistan police spokesperson Mubarak Jan said that the operation was carried out after police received information that criminals wanted for murder and attempted murder were seeking shelter at a house. The operation was carried out at approximately two in the morning, he said.
He added that police cordoned off the area immediately after the incident took place and were carrying out raids in adjoining areas. The spokesperson said that the bodies of the martyred officials had been shifted to a nearby hospital.
GB Counterterrorism Force AIG Hafeezur Rehman told Dawn.com that after police personnel entered the house and started searching a man present inside, at least three suspects hiding in other places of the house opened indiscriminate fire on the security officials, leading to the casualties. During the exchange of fire, two women police personnel narrowly escaped the bullets, the AIG added.
Police had been keeping the house and its occupants under watch for a while, the officer said, revealing that the property was being used to sell weapons to criminals across the region.
He said the house will be searched for any hidden weapons after clearing the debris from it and the burial of the martyred police personnel.
The officials who lost their lives were identified as Sub-Inspector Sohrab Khan, Zia, Junaid Karim, Ghulam Murtaza and Ishtiaq Ahmed while Inspector Nabi Wali Khan was among the four that were injured.
The police spokesperson said that the civilians killed during the crossfire were identified as Basharat and Izharullah. He maintained that police were investigating the incident from all angles.
GB caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal has sought a report on the incident from IG Dr Mujeebur Rehman and directed that the accused be arrested immediately.