Seven policemen were killed when unidentified bikers unleashed fire on a Police van at Bangla Bazaar in Karachi’s Orangi Town, Waqt News reported. Following the attack, the gunmen ran away from the site. According to eyewitnesses four bikes and eight gunmen were involved in the attack.
“The gunmen first opened fire on three policemen in the streets of Orangi Town, killing them all,” DIG West Feroz Shah told AFP. “Later they shot dead four policemen, who were sitting in a police mobile van.”
Three of the seven police officials had been rushed to the nearby hospital but died on the way. According to reports the targeted police officials were in-charge of the security of a polio team.
According to police sources, the targeted cops were having lunch at the time of the attack and were attacked from behind.
The policemen have been identified as Rustam Ali, Ghulam Rasool, Wazir Ahmad, Ghulam Hussain, Ghazi Khan, Daim-ud-Din and Ismail. Their dead bodies have been taken to Abbasi Shaheed hospital.
While talking to media DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar said it is a condemnable attack. “The attack will be thoroughly investigated,” he said. “The terrorists involved in the attack will be arrested. Our forces, including police, have been fighting against these elements and numbers of attacks have been halted.”
DG Sindh announced Rs 5 million for any person who gives information regarding the attackers. IG Sindh has announced Rs 2 million for the families of the victims.
Following the attack, the anti-polio campaign has been called off with immediate effect. The health team’s security has been ensured and the workers have been escorted to safety.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has ordered a report on the attack from from the IG Police.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the attack, with Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressing his grief over the incident.
Polio workers have been targeted all over Pakistan in the recent past, with Islamist militants deeming the anti-polio vaccination ‘un-Islamic.’
Polio teams have been targeted twice in Karachi, in the past two years. On January 19, a health team working on polio eradication was targeted in the same Orangi Town area.
In January a polio eradication office in Quetta was targeted, while a polio worker was shot at in February.
Security personnel have been targeted regularly elsewhere in Karachi as well.
On April 6, three security officials got injured in a grenade attack at Kharadar Kaghzi Bazar.
On March 18, Rangers posts at Moti Mehal, Rashid Minhas Road and Essa Nagri were targeted by unidentified bikers. Two Rangers personnel were injured in the attacks.
Similarly nine people were injured in a grenade attack on January 16 in Lyari.
On February 12 coordinated attacks were launched in the areas of North Nazimabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town and Liaqutabad Town, with one policeman being injured.
A large scale Rangers operation has been underway in Karachi against militants, banned organizations and militant wings of political parties. Since the inception of the operation the rate of target killing incidents and extortionist has decreased. Elements involved in the city’s gang war have been killed and arrested by security agencies.