By Muhammad Luqman
A senior police official in Pakistan’s northern western city of Peshawar was killed on Friday in a suicide attack carried out by a youth, according to media reports.,
The suicide attacker, who was on a motorbike, rammed into the vehicle carrying the Additional Inspector General Police, Ashraf Noor other police officials near Zarghooni Mosque as they were on their way to work this morning, the CCPO said, adding that the attacker then detonated his explosives. The blast left the police vehicle in flames, witnesses added.
According to CCPO Tahir Khan, who addressed the media following the blast, only AIG Noor had been martyred in the blast.
The CCPO added that at least six policemen had been injured and were shifted to Peshawar’s Hayatabad Medical Complex for treatment.
Sub-Inspector Ejaz, a police official who was present at the blast site, said that the AIG had lost his life in the blast, along with two others ─ a security guard and the vehicle’s driver ─ placing the death toll at three.
An AFP report quoting police said that the AIG’s bodyguard was killed in the attack, along with the high-ranking police official.
A rescue emergency officer, Naveed, claimed that the bodies of two dead were transported to a medical facility, one of whom was identified as the AIG, and another a member of his staff named Habibullah, English newspaper Daily Dawn reported.
Inspector General Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Salahuddin Mehsud told media that five people, including three policemen, had been injured and were receiving medical treatment.
According to an initial probe report compiled shortly after the attack, the suicide attacker was identified as an 18-20 year old youth.
His bomb contained 15-20 kilograms of explosive material, the report said. He is believed to have been waiting at the site of the blast for the AIG’s vehicle, and he rammed into the vehicle at a u-turn.
Evidence has been gathered from the site of the blast for further investigation, the report said.
According to media reports , it is the first time a police official of AIG rank has been targeted in Peshawar. AIG Noor was born in Gilgit Baltistan in 1963. He joined the police force in 1989 and was promoted to BS-21 grade earlier this year. He was set to retire in 2023.
Prior to holding the position of AIG HQ, he was appointed AIG Elite Force Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The KP Police Department issued a statement describing the AIG as a “principled and honest man”.
“His sacrifice has renewed our resolve to conduct ourselves courageously,” the statement said.
“The KP police will continue to stand firm… Each police official from the IGP to a sepoy is ready to lay down their lives in this war [against terrorism],” the statement added.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has condemned the murder. “Our resolve to eradicate the menace of terrorism can not be shaken,” he said in a statement.