Lakki Marwat: Relatives and security officials gather around the coffins of the martyred policemen after their funeral prayers, on Thursday.—AFP
Lakki Marwat: Relatives and security officials gather around the coffins of the martyred policemen after their funeral prayers, on Thursday.—AFP

LAKKI MARWAT: A deputy superintendent of police (DSP), along with his three gunmen, was martyred in an attack targeting a police vehicle in Lakki Marwat in the early hours of Thursday.

According to details, militants stormed the Saddar police station on the Bannu-Mianwali road near Chawkijand area when personnel inside the station called for reinforcements.

DSP Iqbal Momand, who responded to the call, was on his way when the armoured vehicle he was travelling in was targeted with an improvised explosive device (IED).

The IED, planted earlier by the militants on the road leading to the police station, went off near the APC a few miles from the station.

The attack also left six people wounded.

The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

A local police officer confirmed that along with DSP Momand, constables Waqar, Kiramat and Ali Marjan also embraced martyrdom. The vehicle’s driver Sardar Ali, along with five other personnel sustained injuries in the exchange of fire with the militants who fled after the attack.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police chief Akhtar Hayat said around 20 to 25 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.

Intelligence-based opera­­tions were being carried out in Bannu and D.I. Khan divisions since attacks were increasingly taking place in the province’s southern parts,” Mr Hayat informed media persons at the police’s headquarters in Peshawar after the funeral prayers of the martyred DSP. The funeral prayers were attended by Caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan, Governor Ghulam Ali and the police chief.

The funeral prayers of the three martyred policemen were held at police lines Lakki Marwat. Bannu Regional Police Officer Syed Ashfaq Anwar, Brigadier Imran, Lakki Marwat Deputy Commissioner Abdul Hadi and other officials attended the prayers.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack on a police station in Lakki Marwat, which resulted in the martyrdom of three personnel, paying tribute to DSP Iqbal Mohmand and Sepoys Waqar, Marjan and Karamat for laying down their lives in the line of duty.

The prime minister offered condolences to the martyrs’ families.

“Police are playing a wonderful role as the first line of defence against terrorism,” Mr Sharif said in his message.

The prime minister directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to make payment from the Martyrs’ Assistance Package to families of the martyred policemen and extend the best treatment facilities available to the injured.

Attacks on police stations

Thursday’s attack was the latest in a series of attacks targeting police and other security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially in the southern belt comprising Lakki Marwat, Tank and D.I. Khan. The attacks have come since the outlawed TTP ended the ceasefire with the government last year.

In many of these attacks, militants, armed with high-end gadgets, had attacked police stations late at night. In a similar attack in the Sarband area on the outskirts of Peshawar in January, a DSP and his two guards lost their lives in an exchange fire with the terrorists.

Former additional inspector general of police Dr Syed Akhtar Ali Shah told Dawn that the police have standard operating procedures to deal with such attacks but they weren’t followed during the Sarband or the Lakki Marwat attacks.According to Mr Shah, the police have remote-controlled vehicles with sensors to locate explosives from at least a mile away. These should be used during attacks at night, he added.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2023

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