PESHAWAR: A police official embraced martyrdom and a passer-by sustained injuries when a police patrol near Karkhano Market came under a grenade attack on the western fringes of Peshawar on Friday.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief said it would be premature to term the incident ‘terrorism’ before the completion of police investigations.
The vehicle belonged to the Rapid Response Force of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police that patrolled the stretch of roads extending from the University of Peshawar to Karkhano, KP police chief Moazzam Jah Anasri said.
The Karkhano Market, situated on the main highway connecting Pakistan and Afghanistan, abuts on the Khyber district.
According to the police chief, the vehicle was on a routine patrol when it was attacked while the district administration was carrying out an operation in the neighbourhood to ensure that people adhere to health guidelines to contain the spread of Covid-19.
He said someone lobbed a hand-grenade inside the police mobile van, which led to the martyrdom of the police official, Bin Yameen. He assured the reporters at the scene that details of further investigations would be shared with the media.
SSP (operations) Yasir Afridi said the investigators were examining CCTV footage from the area to identify the attacker.
Speaking to Dawn, a bomb disposal unit official said the evidence they had gathered from the site indicated that it was a grenade attack. A police official at the Hayatabad police station later said a dispatch was sent to the counter-terrorism department of police to register an FIR.
Meanwhile, funeral prayers for the slain cop were offered at the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines in the afternoon. KP chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, provincial police chief and other senior officials attended the funeral.
In a statement, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan condemned the grenade attack on the police and offered his condolences over the death of the police official. The provincial minister for local government, Akbar Ayub Khan, also condemned the incident.
According to Dawn.com, the police in an initial statement explained that an unidentified person had hurled a grenade at the police mobile van during an operation against Covid-19 SOP violations.
However, Peshawar CCPO Abbas Ahsan, who visited the site to inspect the damage, later clarified that the mobile van was on a routine patrol when it was targeted. “There were four police personnel seated in the mobile van at the time of the attack,” he said.
The police officer said the nature of the blast could not yet be determined. “It can’t be said for certain whether it was a grenade attack or some other device was used for the explosion,” CCPO Ahsan said, reiterating that the explosion took place inside the vehicle.
The SSP operations said the police would continue to stand resolutely no matter how much the ‘enemy is scheming such plans’. “We will give as many sacrifices as needed for this city,” SSP Afridi said.
A spokesperson for the Hayatabad Medical Complex said the injured citizen had been discharged after being provided with medical treatment.
Earlier in October 2020, at least eight people were killed and around 120 others injured when a timed device went off inside a mosque in Peshawar’s Dir Colony.
Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2021