4 cops martyred, as many injured in midnight siege of police station in KP's Lakki Marwat
Militants attacked the Burgi police station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Lakki Marwat early Sunday morning, leaving four policemen dead and injuring as many, according to a police official.
“At midnight, militants attacked the police station and tried to enter the building," Lakki Police spokesperson Shahid Hameed told Dawn.com, adding that more than 60 policemen were on duty at that time.
He said that the policemen engaged the militants for almost 45 minutes after which the attackers escaped, taking advantage of the darkness.
Hameed pointed out that the police station is situated in a far-flung area and takes almost one-and-a-half hours to reach from Lakki city.
While no group has taken responsibility for the attack, the police suspect the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as the group is known to operate in the area.
Funerals for the slain policemen were held at the Lakki police line on Sunday morning, which were attended by Regional Police Officer Bannu Syed Ashfaq Anwar, District Police Officer Ziauddin and senior military and civil officials.
President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the terrorist attack.
The president expressed the resolve of continuing efforts to completely eliminate the remnants of terrorism, according to a press release from the President's Secretariat Press Wing.
PM Shehbaz said the entire nation saluted the "huge sacrifices" of police officers and soldiers in their fight against terrorism.
Paying tribute to the "supreme sacrifices" of the police personnel, PM Shehbaz said, "terrorists were the open enemies" of the nation. “Those who have been shielding the nation against terrorists are our heroes,” said a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.
The prime minister further said the elimination of terrorists, their supporters, and facilitators was the "national priority".
He also urged the KP government to provide a compensation package to the families of martyred police personnel.
President Alvi and PM Shehbaz expressed their condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the high ranks of the departed souls and the early recovery of the injured.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the martyrdom of police personnel by the terrorists.
“Attacks on security forces and police personnel in KP are worrying,” he said. “Terrorists should be chased and brought to justice.”
He expressed sympathy with the martyred policemen’s families. FM Bilawal also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured personnel.
KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan condemned the attack and offered his condolences while wishing the injured a speedy recovery, according to a press handout.
He also asked the inspector general of police for a report on the incident and directed that the injured police officials be provided with the best medical aid.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah prayed for the martyrs' families to have patience during the tough time.
He also took a jibe at the KP chief minister saying, "CM should seriously give attention to the law and order situation (in KP); he should spend more time in his province and less in Zaman Park (PTI Chairman Imran Khan's residence)."
The PML-N leader reprimanded Mahmood, asking him to "fulfil the responsibilities of protecting the people's lives and belongings rather than becoming an instrument of sedition", referring to his support for Imran.
Sanaullah expressed his concern, "If attacks are taking place on the police, then what would be the condition of the public's protection?"
He asserted that the federal government is ready to "help and cooperate" with the KP government in "every possible way".
Former president Asif Ali Zardari condemned the attack as well, expressing condolences to the martyred police officials' families, according to the PPP's official Twitter account.
Highlighting that the "increase in terrorism incidents in KP was concerning", he demanded strict measures to be taken to suppress terrorists.
The TTP called off its ceasefire agreement with the government on Nov 28, ordering its militants to stage attacks across the country, according to a statement from the outfit.
The statement said that the TTP's decision was taken after "a series of non-stop attacks were launched by the military organisations in Bannu's Lakki Marwat district".
Early this month, the Nacta told a Senate panel that the peace talks with the proscribed outfit "emboldened" it and allowed it to regroup.