A police constable was killed and 18 others injured when a roadside bomb ripped through a patrol van near the Gulbahar police station, security officials said on Saturday. The van was part of a police convoy carrying three prisoners en route to Mardan.
Five policemen and 13 passersby were among the injured, including a woman who is said to be in a critical condition.
According to a police official, three vehicles of the Elite Force were escorting three prisoners from Peshawar to Mardan when a remote controlled device planted in the middle of Grand Trunk Road went off, damaging one of the police vans, three cars and two auto rickshaws. The police reached the spot and cordoned off the area, diverting traffic to alternative roads.
“Sameeullah, Inayatullah and Abubakar were the prisoners on board. Abubakar is a militant with seven anti-terrorism cases registered against him, while the other two are ordinary criminals,” the police official said. According to him, the attack was an attempt to free the convicts, but police reinforcements reached the scene and managed to move all three prisoners to the Gulbahar police station.
Sulman, an eyewitness, said he was present in his shop when he heard a sudden explosion. “I saw fire billowing from the area followed by smoke and dust.”
The injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital where one of the policemen, Shah Hussain, succumbed to his injuries.
After the site was inspected, an official from the Bomb Disposal Squad, Hakim Khan ,said that around 5 kgs of explosives were used in the blast.
The injured policemen include ASI Jabbar Khan, Constable Manzoor, Syed Kalam, Farhad and Shah Hasan, while Shah Hussain was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard in Mardan.
This was the second bomb attack targeting police in the city within the last 24 hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.