6 Frontier Corps personnel injured as convoy attacked in Peshawar’s Hayatabad: police

Published July 18, 2023
This screenshot from the site of the blast in Peshawar’s Hayatabad on Tuesday shows a damaged vehicle. — DawnNewsTV
This screenshot from the site of the blast in Peshawar’s Hayatabad on Tuesday shows a damaged vehicle. — DawnNewsTV

Six personnel of the Peshawar Frontier Corps (FC) were injured in a blast as their convoy came under attack in Peshawar’s Hayatabad area on Tuesday, police said.

It was an attack on a convoy of the paramilitary force that was moving through Hayatabad’s phase 6, Cantt SP Waqas Rafiq said while speaking to the media near the site of the blast soon after the incident.

Footage broadcast on television from the site showed a crowd of people on the road where the blast purportedly took place. The charred remains of a vehicle could be seen in the distance.

Later, Peshawar SSP (Operations) Haroon Rasheed said in a statement that an “explosive-laden vehicle” was used in the attack.

“We are further investigating the matter,” the statement said, adding that a search operation was under way.

In his media talk, SP Rafiq also said that police were “looking into the matter and collecting further details. The area has been cordoned off”.

“We will get to the bottom of this matter, and the culprits involved in the incident will be exposed,” he pledged.

He earlier told Dawn.com that the incident seemed to be a “suicide blast”, adding that a bomb disposal squad was collecting evidence from the scene to ascertain the nature of the incident.

Both officials confirmed that six people had been injured in the blast, with the SSP saying that all of them were FC personnel.

Meanwhile, medical director of the Hayatabad Medical Complex, professor Shehzad Akbar Khan, confirmed to Reuters that the hospital received two people who were wounded by the explosion and that both were in stable condition.

He said the remaining injured were taken to Combined Military Hospital.

Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan, a newly found faction of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Condemnations

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was among the first ones from the government to condemn the attack, saying that terrorists and planners of such incidents could not “escape the grip of law”.

He prayed for the quick recovery of the injured, a statement issued by the PPP said.

Bilawal’s father and former president, Asif Ali Zardari, gave a similar message in his condemnation posted on the PPP’s Twitter.

Former premier and PTI chief Imran Khan also condemned the attack and prayed for the quick recovery of the injured.

“It is worrying how terror attacks are increasing in KP and Balochistan. Our security forces are almost on a daily basis being targeted and giving sacrifices,” he said on Twitter.

Uptick in terror activities

Pakistan has seen an uptick in terror activities, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, after the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year.

A report released this month by think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies said the first half of the current year witnessed a steady and alarming rise in terror and suicide attacks, claiming the lives of 389 people across the country.

In a press conference in June, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry said that the security forces conducted 13,619 intelligence operations this year in which 1,172 terrorists were killed or arrested.

“On a daily basis, over 77 operations are being carried out by armed forces, police, intelligence agencies, and other law enforcement agencies to rid of the menace of terrorism,” he said.

DG Sharif added that 95 soldiers embraced martyrdom in these operations.

Today’s incident follows two attacks on the military earlier this month in Balochistan. Both attacks took place on the same day and the martyrdom of 12 soldiers in the two incidents was the military’s highest single-day death toll from terrorist attacks reported this year.

One of the attacks was launched at Zhob garrison in which nine soldiers were martyred while security forces killed five terrorists in retaliatory action.

According to Zhob District Commissioner (DC) Azeem Kakar, a civilian woman was also killed in the incident after being caught in the crossfire while five other civilians were left injured.

Prior to that, security forces came under fire from militants in Sui during an operation in the area.

“During the fire exchange, three brave soldiers, having fought gallantly, embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while two terrorists were sent to hell during the operation,” the military’s media affairs wing said.

Two days after the incidents, the army expressed concerns on the “safe havens and liberty of action available to” TTP in Afghanistan.

“It is expected that the interim Afghan government would not allow the use of its soil to perpetrate terror against any country, in the real sense and in line with commitments made in the Doha agreement,” an Inter-Service Public Relations statement said.

“The involvement of Afghan nationals in acts of terrorism in Pakistan is another important concern that needs to be addressed. Such attacks are intolerable and would elicit an effective response from the security forces of Pakistan,” it added.

The army top brass reiterated the assertion again yesterday at the 258th Corps Commanders’ Conference while Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also accused the Afghan Taliban of not honouring their commitments under the Doha accord, i.e. that they would not allow Afghan soil to be used against others.

Previously too, Islamabad had repeatedly raised concerns over the use of Afghan soil by militants for cross-border terrorism.

In response to the recent concerns raised by the army and government, Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid disputed the statements from the Pakistani side, saying: “We do not allow them (TTP) to live and operate in Afghanistan. We have faced consequences of wars and do not want others to suffer like Afghanistan.”

But in a separate interview with BBC Pashto, Mujahid took a harsher line — ostensibly in a bid to play to the Afghan galleries — advising Pakistan to resolve its internal problems itself, instead of pointing fingers at others.

Rana Sana reiterates resolve to eliminate terrorism

Earlier today, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also chaired a meeting to review the National Counter-Violent Extremism Policy.

According to state broadcaster Radio Pakistan, the meeting was given a detailed briefing by the director general (DG) of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) about the aims and objectives of the policy.

The meeting decided to involve all stakeholders in the consultative process and introduce some amendments in the policy after which it will be forwarded to the cabinet for approval, the report said.

Addressing the meeting, Sanaullah reiterated the national resolve to eliminate terrorism and extremism as “it has caused irreparable damage to the country”, the report said.

“We need to create awareness among the people about the extremist elements,” Sanaullah said, adding that National Counter Violent Extremism Policy could not be implemented until all stakeholders agree on it.


Additional input from Reuters, Radio Pakistan and Tahir Khan

Opinion

In defamation’s name

In defamation’s name

It provides yet more proof that the undergirding logic of public authority in Pakistan is legal and extra-legal coercion rather than legitimised consent.

Editorial

Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...
ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...