Unprecedented attack: Coordinated assault on ISI Sukkur office

Published: July 25, 2013

Policemen and rescuers at the site of suicide attack in Sukkur. PHOTO: AFP

SUKKUR: 

Suicide gunmen and car bombers mounted an unprecedented attack on the local office of the country’s premier intelligence agency in the otherwise sleepy town of Sukkur Wednesday evening, sparking a shootout that killed eight people and injured over three dozen.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the brazen attack on the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) office in the upscale Sukkur Barrage Colony, it is likely to revive fears that the reach of militants is spreading in the country.

The Sukkur Barrage Colony is a high security zone where offices of top government officials – including Commissioner House, DIG House, Sindh Rangers Headquarters and Judges Lodges – are situated.

“It was the ISI office which was attacked. The gate and front walls have been blown away,” Major General Rizwan Akhtar of the paramilitary Sindh Rangers, told AFP.

Four terrorists, armed with hand grenades, suicide vests and assault rifles, launched the organised attack just as local residents broke their fast, sources told The Express Tribune.

DIG Javed Alam Odho told AFP that apparently a suicide bomber first blew himself up in front of a police building and then a second bomber drove his explosive-laden vehicle into the main gate of the ISI office. “Other terrorists started firing and throwing hand grenades at police,” he added.

ASP Sukkur Masood Bangash confirmed eight fatalities to The Express Tribune including four terrorists. However, Edhi volunteers said that they have shifted five bodies and 50 injured to different hospitals of Sukkur and Rohri. They added that the terrorists’ bodies were lying at the site.

Officials also confirmed that apart from the terrorists, the fatalities included three ISI officials and a civilian.

Sukkur Commissioner Dr Niaz Ali Abbasi said that the Commissioner House and the DIG House were partially damaged, while damage to the ISI office was extensive.

The casualties were shifted to Civil Hospital Sukkur, Taluka Hospital Rohri and the privately-owned Hira Medical Centre. However, the injured ISI officials and Rangers troops were driven to the Combined Military Hospital in Pano Aqil due to the precarious nature of their wounds.

Police and Rangers sealed the entire area and disconnected the electricity supply to the building where the remaining two terrorists were holed up.

Security officials claimed that the two terrorists were killed in a shootout with police and Rangers. Media persons were not allowed near the site while the operation continued.

Highly credible sources told Daily Express that the target of the attack was ISI official Major Zeeshan, who had important documents containing details of terrorists. Major Zeeshan was breaking fast in his office when the terrorists mounted the attack. Major Zeeshan was also killed in the attack.

The ISI has been a frequent target for the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as it wages a deadly insurgency, although Sukkur has traditionally been immune from such violence.

In May 2009, a suicide attack outside a police building next to the local ISI office in Lahore killed 24 people. In November that year a powerful car bomb ripped through ISI’s headquarters in Peshawar, killing 10 people and destroying part of the fortified building.

A month later in Multan two suicide attackers fired at soldiers while driving a truck bomb past security checkpoints in an attempt to approach the local office of the ISI.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the attack, which he said resulted in the “loss of precious human lives and injured many”.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Thor
    Jul 25, 2013 - 3:11AM

    How sad, these people don’t even see its Ramzan.

    Recommend

  • jibran
    Jul 25, 2013 - 3:19AM

    Ch Nisar must be fired.

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  • ali ahmed
    Jul 25, 2013 - 3:39AM

    insider must have been involved..targeting major zeeshan

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jul 25, 2013 - 3:40AM

    Fight or surrender..

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jul 25, 2013 - 3:54AM

    Unprecedented attack? ISI offices have been attacked before.

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  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jul 25, 2013 - 4:14AM

    Let’s talk with these brothers of ours !

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  • Ali
    Jul 25, 2013 - 4:39AM

    Thanks India. Owe you one more!

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  • Pakistan
    Jul 25, 2013 - 4:47AM

    Major Zeeshan you got martyred serving the motherland, may your soul rest in peace.
    Pakistan Zindabad!!

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  • Rand0m
    Jul 25, 2013 - 5:35AM

    This is the state and competency of Pakistani Intelligence agencies that they can’t protect their on sites. I am seriously doubting the ability of Pak Army and it’s intelligence wing. Maybe it is time for a honest re evaluation?
    Has anyone thought about the fact that Tax payers pay billions un audited money to run these organizations who can’t even protect their own people?
    Enough ranting about how good our army is and how well trained and professionals they are and let’s face the reality. They were asleep in 1965 when the enemy came as close as Lahore, they lost half of the country in 1971, they badly stuffed up Kargil incident, they were deep asleep when Americans entered in Pak, stayed in Pak for 3 hours and killed OBL right near Military accademy. Does army really have any achievement in the history of Pakistan, oh yes they have brought some very successful coups!

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  • ali ahmed
    Jul 25, 2013 - 5:41AM

    @ random….Kargil was part of pakistan before 1971….

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  • Umer
    Jul 25, 2013 - 5:56AM

    @Ali:

    Thanks India. Owe you one more!

    Where is India in all this? Its our own mujahideens.

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  • BlackJack
    Jul 25, 2013 - 6:43AM

    @Ali:
    Thanks India. Owe you one more!
    Thank yourselves. Since you’ve stuff your heads further in the ground, you can’t see what is in front of you, and rely on your overactive imaginations instead.

    Recommend

  • Alann
    Jul 25, 2013 - 7:02AM

    Ali Ahmed: “Kargil was part of pakistan before 1971….”

    Ali Ahmed is the result of the education system of Pakistan.

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  • RAW is WAR
    Jul 25, 2013 - 7:12AM

    @ali ahmed:

    ours now

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  • Dr. A.K.Tewari
    Jul 25, 2013 - 7:17AM

    @ random , There is no need to criticise army or ISI at the time when country is paying the cost of her illfated policies being persued for the last 65 years . Pakistan will have to pay the cost of retreate from such policies which have been observed to snatch Kashmir throgh covert operations and to have a grip over Afghanistan.The attack in the month of Ramdan clearly indicate the fact the these out fits are working to malign Islam therfore should be crushed in each streets and corners of Pakistan where ever they are found talking about taking revenge with US, Israiel ,India or Iran .

    Recommend

  • mahakaalchakra
    Jul 25, 2013 - 7:49AM

    @ali ahmed:

    Pakistan constitution since 1971 have only four province and before 1971 it has East Pakistan but Kashmir (including Gilgit-Baltistan or Northern Areas) was never been mentioned as part of Pakistan. They are disputed areas, at the most.

    Recommend

  • DON
    Jul 25, 2013 - 8:31AM

    @Umer: Don’t call these idiots ” mujahideen”.

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  • Random
    Jul 25, 2013 - 8:38AM

    @ Dr. A.K.Tewari

    Was Zia a Politician ? Was Musharaf Politician? What capacity they built during their time? Shutting up legitimate questions is not going to hide the failures of those who are supposed to protect the nation. Maybe this is the problem that ISI is too busy spying on Politicians and not so much active to actually do their job?
    You can only improve when you question yourself. It is time to face the ugly truth. I am not saying anything against the hard working honest military men it is the leadership and those who build the capacity.

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  • Blunt
    Jul 25, 2013 - 9:24AM

    Ch Nisar may again appear on TV stating that ‘law and order is the responsibility of respective provinces’. But in his sense that only applies over Sindh and KPK.

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  • RizwanKhan
    Jul 25, 2013 - 9:41AM

    Dy Dir Zeeshan was a civilian not a major and was a childhood friend. Please pray for him and his family. He was a great guy. These terrorists have tarnished his family. This loss is unbearable.

    May Allah bless him Jannah and curse the culprits.

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  • grahan
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:19AM

    @Ali:
    And once that ‘one’ is over, we will owe you 10 more!!!
    Let the game roll.

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  • Salman
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:51AM

    @Rand0m:
    Not to mention they own all the prime real estate in the country. Please don’t expect property dealers to defend your country

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  • sidjeen
    Jul 25, 2013 - 10:52AM

    the level of competency of our premier intelligence agency is such that not only did the terrorists found about Major Zeeshan and the important documents is his possession but probably a reporter from ET also know about this classified information less that 24 hours after the attack.

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  • Salman
    Jul 25, 2013 - 2:04PM

    Were these good taliban or bad taliban??

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  • ashar
    Jul 25, 2013 - 3:54PM

    Dear Indians, no need to celebrate, ISI will not give up, Insha Allah.

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  • Kakar
    Jul 25, 2013 - 4:02PM

    The chicken has come home to roost. What great strategic thinkers we have had as we are still following the strategic map they traced for us.

    Recommend

  • Dr Kadar Khan
    Jul 25, 2013 - 4:35PM

    Is this country safe enough to have nukes?

    I don’t think so. ISI/GHQ attacks, Kamra and Peshawar Air base attacks, targeted killings of senior security personnel including the President’s.

    What and who’s next? Does any one know? I am not even asking our security establishments as they are too busy with India.

    Many thanks

    Dr Kadar Khan FRCS

    Recommend

  • Jul 25, 2013 - 4:50PM

    Oservers’s opinion can not be ignored,according to the newly elected PM on the one occasion pledged that

    the recent terrorist activity is the challenge for him ,conveying messge that how he stop the carnage
    pressure is being mounted to explain the formula how to face it and finish it.

    seats of round table conference are empity attenders looks not around.

    Recommend

  • Jahil
    Jul 25, 2013 - 5:34PM

    @Salman:
    These are bad Taliban, because a DEAD Taliban is the only GOOD Taliban.

    Recommend

  • Jul 25, 2013 - 5:47PM

    Those who choose to side with conspiracy theories should realize that the terrorists are only focused on pushing their deadly agenda forward. They are not concerned with our failure to realize the obvious; they just continue to push their deadly agenda forward. Time after time we find the same culprits behind these attacks. We’ve just approached the midpoint in Ramadan, and these terrorists have already conducted several deadly acts of terror. The seriousness of the situation requires us to refrain from indulging in the conspiracy theories, and instead, focus our efforts against those who are looking to disrupt our peace objectives. We have full confidence in Pakistan’s ability to counter the threat posed by the extremist organizations. We are working closely with the government of Pakistan and hope to negate the common threat through mutual cooperation.
    We repeat what Jen Psaki, Department of State Spokesperson, said recently: “The United States stands with the people of Pakistan in condemning such senseless and inhumane acts [recent bombings]. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and wish those injured a speedy recovery.”

    Ali Khan
    DET, United States Central Command

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  • FactCheck
    Jul 25, 2013 - 6:18PM

    It must be US, India and Israel’s hands. How can anyone attack the most powerful agency in Pakistan without foreign hand?

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  • Zain
    Jul 25, 2013 - 6:58PM

    @Random:

    Hey seriously I like your comment. That’s what I used to say to my friends who keep on saying that Pak Army and ISI are the best in the world, not sure where they have gotten the rankings….and I can’t stop laughing at them.

    Recommend

  • Zain
    Jul 25, 2013 - 6:58PM

    @Random:

    Hey seriously I like your comment. That’s what I used to say to my friends who keep on saying that Pak Army and ISI are the best in the world, not sure where they have gotten the rankings….and I can’t stop laughing at them.Recommend

  • Zain
    Jul 25, 2013 - 7:02PM

    @US Centcom:

    I really appreciate the US efforts to curb terrorism in Pakistan.
    God bless America!!

    Recommend

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