Two policemen were martyred while as many were injured in a late-night attack on a police check post in Peshawar’s Regi Model Town area, it emerged on Thursday.

According to Regi (Warsak circle) Superintendent of Police Arshad Khan, at around 11:45pm last night, police personnel were switching duties at the entrance of the Regi Model Town when unknown assailants opened fire at the policemen.

He further told Dawn.com that around 30 metres away from where a police van was parked, around 17 shots were fired from across a river there.

An operation was under way after additional checkpoints were set up, SP Khan said.

He added that the police have taken measures while their forces are also alert.

SP Khan said it would be premature to specify the number of gunmen and their method of attack.

Separately, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General (IG) Akhtar Hayat stated the time of the attack as the early hours of Thursday.

He specified that an M4 weapon was used in the sniper firing, adding that a “thermal vision device was probably mounted on the weapon”.

IG Hayat further said that the two policemen suffered headshot wounds, resulting in their martyrdom.

Asserting that the morale of the KP police was high, the IG vowed to trace the perpetrators behind the attack.

A day ago, a police constable was martyred in Dera Ismail Khan’s Kulachi tehsil when unknown gunmen sprayed him with bullets.

On Tuesday, six Fron­tier Corps men were injured when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a vehicle carrying the paramilitary personnel in Peshawar’s Hayatabad.

Funeral prayers offered

Later today, the funeral prayers of the two martyred policemen were offered at the Peshawar Police Lines with official honours.

The prayers were attended by KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, IG Hayat and other military officials, while the policemen paid tribute to the martyrs.

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 about 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.

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