Worrisome trend: Police links recent incidents to army operation spillover

Policeman, WAPDA security guard killed, another cop injured in Attock this week .

Yaqoob Malik July 27, 2014


A police constable and a security guard of the Water and Power Development Authrotiy (Wapda) have been killed while another policeman injured in three separate incidents in Attock this week.

Officials of law enforcement agencies of the district, which borders both Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), believe all three incidents, wherein official weapons of the policemen and security guard were seized, are the result of militants fleeing Operation Zarb-e-Azab in North Waziristan and making their base down country.

Moreover, the PAF Minhas Airbase at Kamra as well as the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, among other sensitive defence institutions, is located in the district which has witnessed several attacks in the past.

Police officials informed the Express Investigation Cell that police constable Wasiq Ali was attacked and killed by unidentified terrorists on Tuesday night when he was on duty outside Jamia mosque in Sheenbagh village, in the jurisdiction of Saddar Police Station. After the incident, terrorists made away with the official weapon and ammunition of the deceased constable.

Similarly, militants snatched the official gun of police constable Ali Hussain after injuring him on Wednesday evening while he was on duty at Turab Road in the jurisdiction of Injra Police station in Attock’s Jand tehsil, which borders Kohat district of K-P.

Moreover, Muhammad Aslam, a security guard deployed at the Ghazi Barotha Hydropower channel, was killed late Thursday night after which unidentified militants snatched his semi-automatic weapon, in the jurisdiction of Hazro Police Station, said a police official.

Although separate cases were registered against unidentified terrorists with the respective police stations under the anti-terrorism act, but the Attock police is yet to find any clue regarding the three incidents.

On June 4 this year, a suicide bomber hit an unmarked vehicle of a defence ministry agency in Fateh Jang, Attock, killing two colonels of the army and three civilians.

Since then the district has been on high alert as it features rugged terrain often used as hideouts by criminals and terrorists. Apart from Kohat, which shares a border with North Waziristan, the district also borders the K-P districts of Nowshera, Swabi and Haripur.

A senior police officer of the region, on the condition of anonymity, said terrorists are fleeing North Waziristan after the destruction of their communication and material infrastructure and are vying to make their bases in the settled districts. He claimed that this week’s incidents were most likely related to terrorists trying to make a base in the district.

The official said an effective strategy is needed in the cities and towns to crackdown on terrorists who have fled from the tribal areas or are already settled in the districts to ensure no blowback occurs.

When contacted, Attock District Police Officer (DPO) Israr Khan said police are investigating the weapon-snatching incidents to ascertain the real motive behind them.  Khan claimed one of the weapons, snatched from constable Ali Hussain, was recovered and police are carrying out search operations to recover the rest and nab the culprits. The DPO said police and officials of Punjab Rangers have adopted a security plan to check the movement of terrorists and are fully alert to counter any act of terrorism.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.

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