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Karachi

August 12, 2017

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Two cops killed in second terror strike within a month

Two cops killed in second terror strike within a month

In the second attack on law enforcers in the city within a month, terrorists gunned down two traffic policemen in the Azizabad area on Friday.

The double murder, responsibility for which was claimed by banned militant outfit Ansarul Sharia Pakistan (ASP), brought to 16 the number of policemen who have been slain in the metropolis this year.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mohammad Hanif Khan, 56, and his gunman, Police Constable (PC) Sultan Ahmed, 54, were on routine patrolling in an official Toyota Corolla car at about 9:30am near Comprehensive High School in Azizabad when a pillion passenger on a motorcycle sprayed them with bullets from the windscreen’s side. The assailants then escaped, leaving behind a pamphlet from the Ansarul Sharia Pakistan.

After being called to the scene, police moved the victims to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where the two were pronounced dead, said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muqadas Haider of the Central district.

The deceased suffered multiple bullet wounds, mostly to their heads and faces.

SSP Haider said the shooter used a 9mm pistol in the offence. Investigators found 20 spent bullet shells from the crime scene and sent them to the forensic division of the Sindh Police.

He said they were ascertaining if footage from CCTV cameras installed at nearby locations was available. However, he added, they had recorded the statements of several witnesses. 

Some witnesses told the investigators that the attackers were riding two motorcycles and wearing pants and shirts. One witness said the attackers were three. Yet another witness claimed the attackers numbered four.

SSP Haider said they had inspected the crime scene and also planned geo-fencing.

DSP Hanif Khan had been working as DSP Traffic of Liaquatabad Division and PC Sultan was posted at the Azizabad Traffic Section.

DSP Khan was born in 1962 and got recruited in the Sindh Police in 1987. He mostly severed in the Karachi Traffic Police and remained a section officer (SO) at different sections of the force. He lived in Preedy Police Lines.

The chief of the Counter Terrorism Department’s Transnational Terrorists Intelligence Group (TTIG), Raja Umer Khattab, told The News that at present in Karachi there were two groups, including ASP. 

He said that the ASP was very much active and involved in killing policemen, and it was also involved in Friday’s attack on DSP Khan and his gunman. 

Speaking of the modus operandi of the group, Khattab said that after targeting officials, terrorists left behind pamphlets. He said a similar pattern was seen in the month of Ramazan when gunmen shot dead four cops in the SITE area and threw a pamphlet there.

He added that in the pamphlet the hitmen left behind in Azizabad, the terrorists warned that in future they would target more policemen and their informants.

The top anti-terror police officer said Friday’s killings or the previous killings of policemen, including those that occurred in the New Town and SITE areas, as well as the target killings of Colonel Nagi and a Levies official in Hub, had been committed by the ASP, and it seemed that before murdering law enforcers they kept an eye on their movement. On a query, Khattab said they were investigating the killings of policemen from all aspects. He said activists belonging to militant wings of political parties might also be involved. He said every killing had a different motive and it was early to confirm anything or come to any conclusion.

He noted that another group could be involved in the killings of policemen in Korangi and Sachal areas. 

Funeral prayers

The funeral prayers for the slain traffic cops were held at the Special Security Unit (SSU) Headquarters after the Friday prayer.

The spokesman for the SSU said the funeral prayers were attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Karachi Corps Commander Lt-General Shahid Baig Mirza, Sindh Rangers Director General Major General Muhammad Saeed, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, IGP AD Khowaja, Additional IGP Karachi Range Ghulam Qadir Thebo, SSU Commandant Maqsood Ahmed and other senior police officers, including SSU commandos.

The rising toll

Concerns are growing over the increasing number of killings of policemen in Karachi, which has otherwise seen a significant fall in heinous crimes, including target killings, kidnappings for ransom, extortion and land grabbing, due to an ongoing targeted operation. 

On July 24 a traffic cop was shot dead in an attack in Gulshan Town. Head Constable Mohammad Khan was gunned down and HC Mohammad Kamran injured near Paradise Bakery on Abul Hasan Ispahani Road in the town’s Gulzar-e-Hijri locality. 

Karachi Traffic Police chief DIG Asif Aijaz Shaikh said three HCs of the Gulzar-e-Hijri traffic section were on duty at Paradise Chowk, adding that four men on two motorbikes rode in around 7:40pm and the pillion passengers opened fire on the cops. On July 21 the Awami Colony police station’s ASI Qamruddin, Constable Babar Ali and HC Afzal fell victim to a brazen assault carried out by terrorists.

The year’s first attack on law enforcers was carried out on January 4, when Sub-Inspector Iqbal Mehmood was shot dead on Sharea Faisal. In the second attack of the month, CTD official Khalid Hussain was gunned down in Jamshed Town on January 10.

On February 21 Pakistan Qaumi Razakar Ali Nawaz was killed in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, followed by the Manghopir attack in which police intelligence officer Fareed was targeted in on April 11.

ASI Mohammad Iftikhar and HC Raja Younus were gunned down in New Town’s Dhoraji locality on May 20, while ASI Mohammad Yousuf and police constables Shabir, Khalid and Israr were shot dead in the Site Area on June 23.

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