ISLAMABAD: A cop was martyred and at least six people — four policemen and two civilians — were injured in suicide blast from a car in the federal capital's Sector I-10 on Friday, police officials said.
Immediately after the blast, law enforcement officials surrounded the scene and cordoned off the area. The injured were moved to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Islamabad.
In a media briefing at the crime scene, Islamabad Operations Deputy Inspector-General of Police Sohail Zaffar Chattha said law enforcers stopped a suspicious vehicle and said a man and woman were inside the car.
He confirmed that members of the Eagle Squad stopped a suspicious car when the suicide attacker detonated himself. "The policemen saved Islamabad from a major incident," Operations DIG Chattha said.
The martyred cop was identified as head constable Adeel Hussain in a tweet by the Islamabad police.
Due to the timely action of the Islamabad Capital Police, the city was saved from a major terrorist attack, the tweet read.
Terrorists have been targeting the police for some time to demoralise law enforcement agencies, the Islamabad police said in its message.
The terrorists wanted to detonate in a densely populated area to attack the police and public, it added.
In another tweet, the police gave the public an update on the diversions placed for traffic. Citizens were advised to use Service Road West of Sector I-10/4 as an alternative.
Earlier, the Islamabad police spokesperson said that there was a loud explosion when the police stopped a suspicious taxi for a search. The police stated that the driver of the suspected vehicle was killed in the suicide attack.
In view of the security situation, Section 144 has also been imposed in the capital.
An eyewitnesses said that a police car and bikes were either tracing or chasing the suspicious vehicle. He said that the blast took place when the police stopped the vehicle.
Talking about the victims, the witness said that the policemen were heavily injured and some of the people walking around the area were also injured.
He said that ambulances reached the spot within 25-30 minutes of the blast.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, while terming the man and woman terrorists, said that they had plans to attack a "high value target".
The security czar of the country said that the attackers had come in a car as they planned to enter important buildings such as the Parliament House, Supreme Court, Prime Minister House, PTV, and high courts. He added had the car not been stopped then there would have been many casualties.
"This would have been a shame for our country if the attack had taken place at a high-value building or Red Zone area," the interior minister told Geo News.
Sanaullah said that security forces were on high alert after the Bannu incident and Islamabad is always on alert.
Soon after the blast, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif summoned a report on it and also condemned the terror incident.
The PM paid tribute to the martyred policemen. He added that the whole nation will fight against terrorism.
"The plan to shed innocent blood has failed due to the action of the law enforcement agencies," said the PM. He also announced a martyr package for the family of head constable Adeel Hussain.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb also strongly condemned the blast and paid homage to the valour of the Islamabad police for averting a major disaster.
Reacting to the blast, opposition leader Asad Umar said that the presence of the suicide bomber shows how fast the country is "heading towards destruction".
"Terrorism was already spreading rapidly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Economy destroyed. Law and order destroyed. Where are they leading the country in their greed for power?" Umar asked.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued immediately after the blast, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the blast and expressed grief over the martyrdom of the policeman.
He also paid tribute to the “brave men of Islamabad police”.
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