President vows retaliation as attacks continue

Published March 18, 2024
RAWALPINDI: President Asif Zardari, COAS Gen Asim Munir and other senior military and government figures attend the funeral prayers for Lt Col Syed Kashif Ali and Capt Muhammad Ahmed Badar at the Chaklala Garrison.—APP
RAWALPINDI: President Asif Zardari, COAS Gen Asim Munir and other senior military and government figures attend the funeral prayers for Lt Col Syed Kashif Ali and Capt Muhammad Ahmed Badar at the Chaklala Garrison.—APP

• Two cops injured in KP as police, law enforcers fend off attacks in Mohmand, Nowshera, Bannu
• Zardari, Gen Munir attend funeral of martyred officers
• President says ‘nation and army are united’ in fight against terrorism

LAKKI MARWAT/ PESHAWAR/MOH­MAND: Police continued to brave attacks from militants in multiple districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the weekend, even as President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to eliminate terrorism from the country, saying the blood of martyrs will not go in vain.

After seven troops, including two officers, were martyred in North Waziristan’s Mir Ali area on Saturday, militants targeted a police checkpost with hand grenades in Ambar Dub Chowk, a tehsil of Mohmand district.

District Police Officer Muhammad Ayaz Khan said that the attack took place at 11:20pm when unknown assailants attac­ked the police post with two hand grenades followed by indiscriminate firing.

Resultantly, Shoaib and Muhammadullah sustained injuries and were referred to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) in Peshawar after preliminary treatment. Police have registered an FIR against militants.

In Bannu, a team of police and security forces were attacked in the jurisdiction of Otmanzai police station, on Sunday. The law enforcers were busy in a search and strike operation in the area when they came under fire.

However, the assailants fled the scene after an intense exchange of fire. An official told Dawn that only a police mobile was damaged in the attack and that a search operation by the police to sniff out the attackers was launched in the area.

Likewise, the Counter-Terrorism Department was approached by the Motorway Police with a complaint that their patro­lling team was attacked near Kund, Nowshera on Saturday night.

Sub-Inspector Iqbal, who sent a note to the CTD, said the vehicle came under attack in Kund. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident. “It was around 11:30pm when the vehicle was attacked. We have sent a note to the CTD to probe the incident,” SI Iqbal told Dawn. In Lakki Marwat which has borne the brunt of recent militant attacks, the newly-posted district police officer and the deputy superintendent of police separately visited different police stations in the city and reviewed security arrangements.

DPO Tariq Habib asked the police to remain vigilant during duty hours and wear helmets and flak jackets. Similarly, DSP Gul Muhammad Khan directed the police to conduct night patrols in the city and said he would monitor these night patrols himself.

Zardari vows retaliation

At the funeral of Lt Col Syed Kashif Ali and Capt Muhammad Ahmed Badar on Saturday night, President Asif Ali Zardari asserted that the blood of the martyrs would not go in vain and the country would avenge the deaths. The president said Pakistan would not hesitate to strike back if attacked by anyone at borders or inside its territory. He added that the army and the people were united to fight against terrorism.

“This noble sacrifice stands as another glorious testament to the unflinching resolve of our gallant sons, who have never hesitated to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the defence of our motherland. The entire nation stands in solidarity with our armed forces,” APP quoted the president as saying.

Besides President Zardari, the foreign and interior ministers, the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, the chief of army staff, relatives of martyrs and locals of the area attended the funeral, APP added.

Khawaja Asif in Sialkot

Separately, addressing a press conference at his residence in Sialkot Cantonment, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said unity was necessary in the fight against terrorism. “Our security forces have made countless sacrifices against terrorism and the defence of this country has been kept strong by the blood of our martyrs,” APP reported.

The minister said that once again terrorism had been rising and only a united government could fight this war. He claimed if there was a division then “this war could spread to every street and neighbourhood”.

He said the PML-N “had successfully broken the nexus of terrorists, militants, and insurgents in the country and it would eliminate the terrorists again and would not hesitate from any sacrifice to do this”.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2024

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