Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed lays wreath on the coffin of martyred Head Constable Munawar Hassan at Police Lines in Islamabad on Tuesday. — APP
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed lays wreath on the coffin of martyred Head Constable Munawar Hassan at Police Lines in Islamabad on Tuesday. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Terming Monday night’s attack on a police party an act of terrorism, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed warned that this was a signal that terrorism had come to Islamabad.

Speaking to reporters after attending the funeral of martyred Head Constable Munawar Hassan at Police Lines on Tuesday, the minister said this was the first such incident of the New Year and said that all law enforcement agencies needed to raise their guard.

“This is not a matter of petty theft or dacoity, this purely is an act of terrorism,” he said.

Also on Tuesday, the media arm of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. A media release from Umar Media quoting TTP Spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani identified the two attackers as Zarrar and Umar.

TTP claims responsibility for Monday night attack on police party; Sheikh Rashid says terrorists’ sleeper cell identified

The minister also said that police had tracked down the terrorists’ sleeper cell in Rawalpindi’s Misriyal area through the registration of their motorcycle.

On Tuesday, as the martyred policeman was laid to rest in the H-11 graveyard with full honours, police registered a case against the two slain suspects, which includes charges of terrorism as well as murder and attempted murder.

Police officers told Dawn that one of the injured policemen is in critical condition and has been placed on a ventilator. Of the two others, one had only sustained minor injuries while the condition of the other is said to be improving.

Police say investigators have tangible clues and an in-depth investigation is ongoing.

Officials told Dawn the men had acquitted themselves honourably during the ambush. They said the men at the halting point were in an open space and it was hard for them to find cover or retaliate in that situation.

They said in such cases, human instinct is to try to save oneself, but the men acted bravely and took down the terrorists.

Providing further details about the assailants, sources in the police department said that the two men carried a Kalashnikov and 9MM pistols, weapons rarely used by robbers and dacoits.

They also said that while petty criminals attack only when stopped for checking, these assailants stopped some distance from the police party and opened fire on them without any warning.

Although nothing was recovered from them that could have aided in their identification, the officers said the attackers were carrying weapons, ammunition and miswaks.

In addition, the men wore surgical gloves and had fully covered their faces, while the 2021-model Honda 125 used by the attackers was purchased by one of them in Nov 2021 and registered in his name.

Police said the two men were Swabi natives but the vehicle was registered to an address in Rawalpindi, where one of the men used to live.

Sources said the incident bore all the hallmarks of previous terror attacks on policemen in the twin cities.

A similar attack occurred in March 2021 near Container Chowk, Golra, where one policeman was martyred and two others injured. In this attack as well, automatic weapons and 9MM and 30 bore pistols were used.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
17 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

THERE was a time not too long ago when the faces we see sitting in government today would cry themselves hoarse over...
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...