By Friday evening, Peshawar had lost at least four police personnel in targeted attacks.
Just ten minutes past Iftar on Friday, a 2.0 litre engine Toyota Corolla approached a Pishtakhara police mobile on Ring Road near Landi Adkun Ahmad and its occupants opened fire.
The mobile had pulled over to a roadside hotel so the four police personnel could break their fast, when they were attacked.
Two policemen, including ASI Noor Muhammad Khan, and driver Baz Muhammad, died instantly in a hail of bullets. Constables Mushtaq and Javed, and the hotel’s security guard Multan Khan were left severely injured.
The deceased and injured were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) and Khyber Teaching Hospital. Constable Javed struggled for his life for an hour before succumbing to his wounds.
“Yes we lost two of our men and two have been hurt. Javed’s condition is critical,” a Pishtakhara official confirmed, just before the constable was declared dead at the hospital. He said a search operation had been launched in the area but the attackers managed to flee the crime scene.
Starting the day
The Superior Science police mobile was patrolling the dark lanes around its namesake college in Yakatoot—a practice as routine as the Sehri meal preparations going on inside the surrounding houses—when the world turned upside down for the four policemen inside.
A two-kilogramme bomb packed with high quality explosives exploded close to the vehicle, ripping into head constable Javed Khan, constables Allah Ditta and Rozi Gul and their driver Ishaq. The policemen were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital, a casualty ward so used to receiving people after such attacks that its name is synonymous with trauma care. The staff did what they could, but head constable Javed Khan, who was also in charge of the patrol squad, did not make it.
Allah Ditta, Rozi Gul and Ishaq are, however, said to be in stable condition.
This was the second attack targeting a police van at Sehr this Ramazan. On July 10, two policemen and an attacker were killed in an exchange of firing on Inqilab Road near Chamkani police station.
“The homemade bomb was placed by the roadside,” a Yakatoot police official told The Express Tribune about this case. “It was detonated remotely, just as the police van left its post inside the college to patrol the area.” At the funeral prayers offered for Javed Khan at Malik Shaheed Police Lines, IGP Nasir Khan Durrani commended the police. “They are at the forefront, fighting the war on terror,” he said. “Attacks on the police are proof of the efficiency of the force across the province.”
An earlier report published by The Express Tribune had shared a similar rationale behind the escalation in attacks on law-enforcement; it is a means to lower police morale when the force was performing relatively well, the report had stated. The report said that law and order was on a slight mend in the province, however, targeted attacks on individuals, including police personnel, went up from 99 to 129 in 2014, as compared to last year.
Talking about preventative measures, Durrani said, “Installing jammers in all police vehicles is an expensive project and would not provide protection from other types of attacks. We have started to install armoured plates in all vehicles to reduce the impact of blasts and other attacks targeting the police.”
Talking to Express News, Saddar Circle DSP Abidur Rahman agreed that the police continue to experience an endless spiral of attacks. “The job of the police is fraught with danger but our morale is high,” said Rahman. The influx of displaced families from conflict zones makes it harder to monitor the city, said the DSP.
Another policeman told Express News, “The force will not be deterred by these tactics.”
“When a police official is killed somewhere on duty, it doesn’t take long for another cop to be deployed at the exact same spot.”
The bomb disposal unit defused a six-kg remote-controlled bomb in Masho Khel, Badhaber on Friday. According to the police, the device had been planted by a roadside to target police or security forces’ vehicles. However, it was defused before it could cause any harm.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.
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