The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Tuesday that a brigadier from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was martyred during an encounter with “hardcore terrorists” in South Waziristan’s Angoor Adda.
In the statement, the ISPR said that an intense exchange of fire took place between the two sides, adding that Brigadier Mustafa Kamal Barki was martyred “while leading the encounter from the front” and seven others were injured, including two who were critically wounded.
The military’s media affairs wing said Brigadier Barki and his team “put up a valiant resistance against the terrorists during the encounter and the officer sacrificed his life for peace of the motherland”.
“Defence forces of Pakistan and intelligence agencies pledge to reaffirm and demonstrate firm resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism from every inch of the country,” the ISPR said.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed regret over the incident and said Brigadier Barki had “sacrificed his life for the peace of motherland”, adding that his sacrifice would not go in vain.
“The terrorists will be found out [and] they will have to pay a heavy price,” the foreign minister said.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan also said he was “saddened” to hear of the news and extended his condolences to the brigadier’s family.
3 soldier martyred during exchange of fire with militants in DI Khan
Separately, the ISPR said three soldiers embraced martyrdom while three terrorists were killed during an exchange of fire in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan district.
According to the statement, terrorists had opened fire on a police checkpost last night in Khutti area, prompting security forces to immediately block all possible escape routes.
“Fleeing terrorists were intercepted in the general area Saggu, DI Khan district. After an intense exchange of fire, three terrorists were sent to hell,” the ISPR said, adding that weapons and ammunition were also recovered.
The statement added that during the intense exchange of fire, 42-year-old Havaldar Muhammad Azhar Iqbal, 34-year-old Naik Muhammad Asad and 22-year-old Sepoy Muhammad Essa were martyred.
“Sanitisation of the area is being carried out to eliminate any terrorists found in the area. Pakistan Army is determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthen our resolve,” the ISPR said.
FM Bilawal condemned the attack and expressed grief at the martyrdom of the soldiers.
He hailed the martyrs as “brave sons of the soil” and extended his condolences to their families.
PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the attack.
“Those who attack the personnel of the army and security agencies will be strictly dealt with,” he said.
Surge in terrorism
Over the past few months, the law and order situation in the country has worsened, with terrorist groups executing attacks with near impunity across the country.
On March 10, five terrorists were killed by security forces in intelligence-based operations (IBO) carried out in North and South Waziristan. On March 8, six terrorists were killed by security forces in an IBO in North Waziristan’s Datta Khel general area.
Since the talks with the banned militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) broke down in November, the outfit has intensified its attacks, particularly targeting the police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and areas bordering Afghanistan. Insurgents in Balochistan have also stepped up their violent activities and formalised a nexus with the TTP.
According to statistics released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, an Islamabad-based think-tank, January 2023 remained one of the deadliest months since July 2018, as 134 people lost their lives — a 139 per cent spike — and 254 received injuries in at least 44 militant attacks across the country.
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