Five people, including two women and children, were killed in a police encounter in Rawalpindi in the small hours of Thursday.
The suspects were killed during an operation conducted by the police in Juriyaan village on Dhamyal Road, a few kilometers away from the Dhamyal Army Camp. During the operation, an elite force official was also killed and two critically injured.
The deceased were allegedly involved in the assassination of Punjab Home Minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada, said a police official.
The suspected terrorist was identified as Qaiser Mustafa, his wife Humaira Mustafa, Malka Khatoon and two children Faizan and Muhammad; all residents of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The police also claimed to have arrested three people from the spot and shifted them to an undisclosed location.
A senior police official, requesting anonymity, said the operation was conducted on the information of intelligence agencies which pointed to the presence of the group involved in Khanzada’s killing.
Last month, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) with the support of intelligence agencies had arrested Qasim Moavia, a member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Attock in connection with the minister’s killing. Investigators believed that Moavia was the mastermind of the attack and also provided support to the suicide bombers.
The police official, who is close to the development, shared that the suspected terrorists belong to the same group and were residing in the village in a rented house. However, when the police reached the spot at around 1:30am on Thursday, the suspects started firing on the raiding party.
The police said that during the crossfire, a female suspect — Humaira — blew herself up which caused the death of a police officer.
Saddar Police Station have registered a case and further investigation is underway by the CTD.
Elite force sub-inspector Irshad Kiyani, who was martyred during the encounter, was buried Thursday afternoon in his village of Karnali near Gujar Khan.
Senior police officials and a high number of locals attended the funeral. A bed of flowers was laid on Kiyani’s grave by the Punjab IGP while a guard of honour was presented by elite force personnel.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif also expressed sorrow over the sad demise of the police official. According to a statement issued by the PM House, Sharif said the sacrifices of our brave nation would not go in vain. He expressed his resolve to eliminate extremism and terrorism from the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.