SSP operations calls perfect shots

Says APC used to bring down compound wall to evacuate people


Riaz Ahmed December 03, 2017
SSP Operations Sajjad Khan PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: Hardly seven days after a senior police officer was martyred in an attack in Peshawar, the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) came under attack.

In civvies on a cold Friday morning, Sajjad Khan was getting ready to personally monitor the processions of 12th Rabiul Awwal when he received a call about an attack on University Road.

“I had barely gathered my thoughts together when the distant sounds of police sirens grew more shrilling by the second,” he told The Express Tribune. “Without thinking much I jumped into the first police mobile by asking it [to] stop.”

Nine martyred as burqa-clad terrorists storm Peshawar Agriculture Training Institute

Failing to recall whose bulletproof jacket he wore or who handed him a weapon, he said, “The only thing in my mind was how I could save the students and the people inside… this city was not ready for any more loss.”

The police force calls Khan ‘a fighter’ as he was the DPO in Swat when the area was heavily influenced by the Taliban. Also in Hangu, when sectarian tensions were high in the area and incursions by terrorists from Kurram Agency was a routine and lastly in Swabi, when the government apparatus had almost collapsed because of the deteriorating law and order situation. These postings shaped his character.

Even after something as intense as an attack on the ATI, he was managing a smile.

Referring to a similar incident in which a suicide bomber was hiding in a house filled with women and children, he said 10 brilliant young policemen laid down their lives to protect that family.

“The police are a public force, its job is not only to protect the people but also to make them feel safe and cared-for,” he said, adding that the bomber was ultimately killed and the family rescued.

Peshawar has its own dynamics; a single attack in any part of a city turns the clock backward. The urban jungle is a difficult terrain. “Three attackers had consolidated their positions,” says the SSP operations, adding that it was 8:45am.

One of the attackers was on the second floor “targeting the main gate so no one could enter”, he explained, adding that he had taken permission from the high-ups that the only way he could save lives of the students was to enter the building.

The other two attackers were at the main entrance of the building which led to the hostel and the staff housing quarters. “I moved in along with my force taking cover under intense firing, while the military QRF followed and moved past us to the backside of the building,” he said, adding that the first attacker was down when one of the police officers tactfully shot him to the head.

The militants threw a number of grenades due to which one inspector was injured, he said, adding that later on more than 20 live grenades, three Kalashnikovs, one pistol as well as three suicide vests were recovered.

Peshawar attackers were in contact with terrorists in Afghanistan: ISPR

By then, the attackers were pinned down in a portion of the building because of the counter-attack from all sides. An Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) was used to bring down the housing compound wall to evacuate the people.

“When the second attacker was taken down, the immediate priority was to evacuate the injured students,” he couldn’t recall how many there were.

Simultaneously, the third attacker was also gunned down. “We shot them all in the head because if they had managed to explode their suicide jackets it would have caused immense damage” he said.

His phone kept ringing during the conversation. They were all congratulatory messages from people. “It’s a joint effort,” he replied. “It’s the credit of the police force not mine alone, the military as well as all law enforcement agencies.”

COMMENTS (2)

great | 5 years ago | Reply Bravo, we salute you and your courageous team, God bless you, God bless Pakistan...Govt. should reward whole team with lot of bounties and thanks. .
Reader | 5 years ago | Reply Respect
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