SHO Abdul Sattar Khattak had saved Bashir Bilour’s life once in 2009 before they both died in a suicide attack on Saturday.
On March 11, 2009, Khattak, then the SHO of Shah Qabool police station, was with Bilour in Namak Mandi when he [Khattak] foiled a suicide attack.
“Bashir was inspecting some pavements on the street when a teenage boy came near them. He shouted ‘Allah o Akbar (God is great) loudly and lifted his hands up in the air,” recalled a Shah Qabool police official. “This gave Khattak enough time to react and he ordered policemen to shoot the suicide attacker.
“We fired at the boy’s legs because we knew he was wearing a suicide vest which could explode if we hit him on the chest. He fell on the ground but managed to stand up and run away,” he said, requesting anonymity.
“The suicide bomber then barged into a house where the owner tried to stop him as he mistook him for a robber. Women gathered around during their scuffle and told them to stop, but the bomber detonated his vest, killing four women and a man on the spot,” he said.
On Saturday evening, Khattak was accompanying Bilour when a suicide bomber struck, killing the SHO on the spot.
“He was a good man and he loved music. It was difficult to stop him from attending when there was a concert in his vicinity,” the police official said.
Khattak, a resident of Baram Khel village in Karak, spent a month over three years as SHO Khan Raziq police station.
He joined the police as a constable in 1979. He was promoted as head constable in 1983 and was made ASI in the year 1987. He was promoted to the inspector level in the year 2006. Khattak leaves behind a widow, five sons and three daughters.
Gul Muhammad, 55, hailing from Afghanistan owns a small shop and has been selling carpets since the last 23 years. Every day, while on his way back from work, he would stop at his friend’s shop for a chat.
“I asked him if I can pick him up, but he said no. He had to go for groceries and said he would come alone,” Muhammad’s son Matiullah said.
His friend’s shop was near the site of attack. “If he did not stop at his friend’s shop that day, he would not have become a victim of the blast. This was written in his fate,” said a shopkeeper Farooq Kan.
Muhammad is among the eight still in hospital.
Another injured was Mian Zulfiqar. He is the third in his family to face a similar fate. His father Mian Iftikharuddin was killed with CCPO Malik Saad on January 27, 2007 in a suicide blast. Zulfiqar’s uncle, Mian Pervez, a former naib nazim of city, was killed in the blast that left Zulfiqar injured.
“The street lights were off, we did not see where the suicide attacker came from, but the sound of the explosion still haunts me,” said Zulfiqar.
Five of the injured are in the causality surgical ward.
Additional reporting by Noorwali Shah
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2012.