LAHORE: Four suspected terrorists allegedly associated with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed in a joint operation launched in the wee hours of Monday on the outskirts of Lahore, earning the officials a pat on the back from the Punjab chief minister.
Three other suspects were also captured while nine people, including a policeman, suffered injuries during the operation conducted by officials of the intelligence agencies, counterterrorism department and district police.
According to police sources, intelligence officials had received a tip-off that some militants had taken refuge in a small under-construction house a day earlier and that they might enter Lahore to carry out attacks on important personalities and installations, including Raiwind.
The intelligence agencies had alerted the home department that some terrorists from Wana, South Waziristan, two would-be suicide bombers among them, had entered Punjab and were planning to target important buildings or personalities in Lahore.
Intelligence officials had traced the terrorists’ hideout to a house on Kala Khatai Road in Rachna Town’s Pathan Colony, following which the area was locked down and the hideout was surrounded.
Subsequently, commandos and policemen raided the house and the terrorists holed up inside put up fierce resistance. During the ensuing gunfight, one of the terrorists blew himself up and injured three of his accomplices. The suicide bomber is believed to be al Qaeda’s Punjab commander Abdali.
The injured suspects were captured by the law enforcers. The gunfight ended with three more suspects taking fatal hits. Nine people, including a policeman, were also injured during the operation. Three of the injured are believed to be terrorists.
A large cache of ammunition, six suicide vests, three rocket launchers, several Kalashnikov assault rifles, 20 kilograms of explosives, some laptops, banned literature and maps of important buildings were seized from the hideout.
According to Home Minister Shuja Khanzada, the group was associated with the TTP. Sources said the group was planning to attack VIPs and important installations, including the central police office and the Raiwind residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif praised the law enforcers for the successful operation. “They have foiled the nefarious designs of terrorists through their best professional abilities and courage. They deserve our congratulations.” He said the law enforcers had demonstrated courage and bravery. “The entire nation is proud of you.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2015.