At least seven militants affiliated with proscribed organisations were shot dead in an alleged exchange of fire with Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel in Sheikhupura district on Sunday. A Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab spokesman said the suspects were killed in an “intelligence-based” operation.

According to the spokesman, the CTD had received ‘information’ that around 10 to 12 militants belonging to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were hiding near Baharianwala Railway Crossing in Sheikhupura district.

“They intended to mount a major attack on Bhakhi police station in the district in the early hours of Sunday morning.”

A CTD team, along with police commandos, surrounded their hideout. The team asked them to surrender. “But they opened fire on the raiding team instead, which returned the fire, killing seven militants on the spot. The remaining three managed to flee,” the spokesman added.

CTD police recovered a cache of weapons and ammunition, including 5kgs of explosive material, two detonators, three motorcycles, three Kalashnikovs, four pistols and 150 bullets from their custody.

The CTD has shifted the bodies to a mortuary for post-mortem. The identity of the suspects was yet to be ascertained. An investigation and search for the fleeing suspects was underway, the spokesperson said.