A policeman was martyred while two terrorists were killed during an attack on the Kundal patrolling post in Mianwali during the early hours of Sunday, Punjab police chief Usman Anwar said in a statement.
“Kundal Punjab Highway Patrolling Post, in a daring operation assisted by the Counter Terrorism Department Punjab, successfully thwarted an attack by 12 to 15 terrorists last night at approximately 23:45 hours,” it stated.
According to the statement, Head Constable Haroon embraced martyrdom during the operation — which concluded after 7am — while multiple terrorists sustained injuries. “Following a thorough area search conducted by the CTD personnel, two terrorist bodies were discovered,” it added.
“One of the terrorists has been positively identified as Zubair Nawaz, brother of Arshad Nawaz, the Ameer of the Tehreek-Taliban Tipu Group of Lakki Marwat, with the aid of a comprehensive database and local intelligence,” the statement said.
It added that Nawaz was a “high priority individual on the most wanted lists in both Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces due to his involvement in the killing of police officers, Shia community member, dacoities and extortion activities”.
The second terrorist, the statement highlighted, was identified as Muhammad Khan who was a “dedicated member of the group” and “proved to be more dangerous than Zubair”.
“His identification was achieved through exhaustive efforts, including assistance from Nadra, various intelligence agencies, and advanced software utilized by the Counter Terrorism Department,” it stated.
“Inspector General of Police Dr Usman Anwar have told that this operation is a testament to the unwavering commitment and bravery of our security forces and reaffirms our collective determination to ensure the safety and security of our citizens.
“We remain resolute in our fight against terrorism, and such acts of terror will not deter our pursuit of peace and justice,” the statement concluded.
Separately in an interview with Geo News today, IG Anwar promised to continue and expedite operations against terrorists in the province.
“Our counter-terrorism department and intelligence agencies keep giving us information and we knew that they could attack a border post in Punjab to spread panic,” he said.
Talking about today’s attack, the Punjab police chief detailed that the patrolling post was one kilometre inside the KP border and forces had been alerted about the attack. “They were prepared and stood on rooftops with light machine guns as the terrorists attacked with heavy weapons from two different sides.”
According to the IG, the response from the forces forced the terrorists to flee but the “CTD, elite forces, DPO and SHO” all immediately reached the location.
He further said that a search operation was under way to clear the area of any further attacks.
Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, in a statement, commended the provincial police force for foiling the “impure intentions” of terrorists.
“Haroon, the martyred officer, is a national hero,” he said, vowing to provide all the possible assistance to the slain cop’s family.
Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack in a post on social media platform X. He paid tribute to the martyred officer and extended condolences with his family.
“In the war against terrorism, Punjab Police is playing the role of vanguard, whose officers and men have foiled several terrorist attacks by risking their lives … salute your bravery and commitment,” he said.
Interim Interior Minister Safaraz Bugti also strongly condemned the attack, asserting that the “cowardly acts” of terrorists could not weaken the morale of the security forces.
“Enemies of the country are trying to sabotage peace and development in Pakistan, the sacrifices of police and law enforcement agencies in the war against terrorism are unforgettable,” he added.
Today’s attack comes a day after a grisly blast rocked Balochistan, claiming the lives of more than 50 people.
On Friday, a suicide bomber ripped through a procession celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on 12 Rabiul Awwal in Mastung, a town about 60km southeast of the provincial capital, killing a police officer, religious leaders, and children among dozens.
No militant group has come forward to claim responsibility for the bombing, prompting claims from the government that the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, was involved.
The same day, at least five people were killed in twin bombing at a mosque inside a police station in KP’s Hangu.
Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in KP, after the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year.
Earlier this month, data compiled by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) said the number of militant attacks in August was the highest tally for monthly strikes in almost nine years.
There were 99 attacks across the country, the highest number in a single month since November 2014, the report had said.
A day earlier, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Asim Munir had asserted that the law enforcement agencies won’t rest until the menace of terrorist was rooted out from the country.
“These terrorists and their facilitators, having no link to religion and ideology, are proxies of the enemies of Pakistan and its people,” the army chief had said in a statement.