DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Caretaker Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Arshad Hussain, Chief Secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry, IGP Akhtar Hayat Khan and others pay their respects to the martyred police personnel at the Ejaz Shaheed Police Lines, on Monday.—Dawn
DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Caretaker Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Arshad Hussain, Chief Secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry, IGP Akhtar Hayat Khan and others pay their respects to the martyred police personnel at the Ejaz Shaheed Police Lines, on Monday.—Dawn

• Pre-dawn assault also leaves six police officials injured
• Militants use sophisticated weapons, hand grenades

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: At least 10 police officials were martyred and six others injured in a pre-dawn attack on Monday by dozens of militants on a police station in Dera Ismail Khan, as violence escalated ahead of general elections this week.

A spokesperson for Dera police said that militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons, attacked the Chaudhwan Police Station in Daraban tehsil at around 3am, adding that cops inside the building retaliated and a gun battle continued for around two and a half hours. The militants escaped after the attack under the cover of darkness.

Senior police officials, however, did not share details of the preliminary investigation into the assault, which came just three days ahead of the general election, scheduled for Feb 8 (Thursday).

“More than 30 terrorists launched an attack from three directions. There was an exchange of fire for over two and a half hours,” KP police chief Akhtar Hayat Khan told the AFP news agency. He disclosed that the attackers briefly seized control of the police station.

Malik Aneesul Hassan, the deputy superintendent of police in Daraban, told Reuters that after entering the building, the militants “used hand grenades, which caused more casualties to the police”.

Officials said the inju­red cops were immediately shifted to the District Headquarters Teaching Hospital in Dera Ismail Khan, where the funeral of the martyred was held at the police lines.

Caretaker Khyber Pak­h­tu­nkhwa Chief Minister Syed Arshad Hussain Shah, Chief Secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry and the KP police chief, among others, attended the funeral prayers.

Speaking on this occasion, the police chief paid rich tribute to the martyred cops for fighting bravely against the militants, adding that their sacrifices for the sake of the country’s stability and the safety of people would not go in vain.

In a video recorded after the funeral, which also went viral on social media, relatives of the martyred police officials questioned the caretaker chief minister and the police chief as to where the militants came from.

“Where did they come from? Did they land from the sky? Who gave them passage — did I?” a person asked. “We are being told that we are doing politics [over the bodies],” he said in the video.

On Dec 12, 2023, at least 23 Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred and more than 30 troops wounded after militants belonging to the Tehreek-i-Jihad Pakistan stormed a Draband Police Station — a facility that also falls in the same area.

A statement issued by the military’s media wing said that six militants who stormed the building were killed. Separately, two military operations in Darazinda and Kolachi resulted in the death of 21 militants and claimed the lives of two soldiers.

Constable martyred

Meanwhile, a police constable identified as Sabz-i-Ali embraced martyrdom while another cop, Ajmal, sustained serious injuries when an explosive device went off at Zulam on Timergara Peshawar road here on Monday.

According to Rescue 1122 officials, the bomb disposal unit was trying to defuse the device on the bank of the Panjkora river at Zulam when it went off. The body of the martyred constable was shifted to the district headquarters hospital in Timergara. The injured cop was later shifted to the provincial capital.

Moreover, two civilians sustained injuries in a roadside explosion on Monday in Wana bazaar in the Lower South Waziristan district, police said.

Dilawar Wazir in South Waziristan and Haleem Asad in Lower Dir also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2024

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