RAWALPINDI - Gunmen targeted a police party guarding Qasar-e-Shabbir Imambargah here on Monday killing two cops and injuring another along with a passerby.
Police and eyewitnesses said the attackers stormed the area at about 11:45am and started shooting sporadically on policemen performing security duty at the gate of Imambargah on Dhoke Seydan Road.
A shopkeeper was also injured in the brazen armed attack, they added. After committing the crime, the attackers sped away towards Dhoke Seydan, an eyewitness told this scribe.
The deceased cops were identified as constables Zaheer Abbas and Muhammad Imran and maimed as constable Faheem Abbas and a shopkeeper Saeed.
The security was put on high alert across the division soon after the tragic incident to arrest the culprits.
The attack on police spread panic in the area as people shut down their businesses and preferred to stay indoor. Traffic disappeared from the road and a heavy contingent of police rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area.
Rescue 1122, on call, also reached the spot and shifted the injured to nearby hospital.
Media spokesperson of the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) confirmed that two bodies of the dead cops had been brought to the hospital and two others injured were also being treated by the doctors.
SSP (Operations) Mian Maqbool, when contacted, confirmed the incident and said two of his police constables were martyred and a cop was maimed by the unidentified armed attackers who were wearing black clothes.
He disclosed that the attackers arrived at 11:45am and sprayed a volley of bullets on the cops. He said the attackers overpowered his men because they were equipped with 9mm pistols while the cops had only tear gas shells in their hands.
“The three cops sustained severe bullet injuries as two of them died in the way to hospital,” he said. The condition of third cop was critical, he said.
However, a well-equipped cop was deputed on the rooftop of the Imambargah but he could not retaliate as the attackers shot three cops from a place which was not in his range due to a wall in between them. “Police found 33 empty shells of 9mm bullets from crime scene and started investigation,” SSP said, adding, that several police parties had been formed to arrest the killers.
On a query, Mian Maqbool said police presence was enhanced on all the Imambargahs after Pindi incident and no mourning procession was on its way at the time of attack. SHO Raja Musaddiq said a case had been registered on the complaint of ASI Muhammad Fiaz and hunt was underway to arrest the attackers.
It is pertinent to mention here that a suicide bomber had also targeted a mourning procession outside Qasar-e-Shabbir on November 20, 2012 killing more than 20 people and injuring 40 others.
The funeral prayers of two martyred constables were offered at Police Lines and attended by Inspector General of Punjab Police (IGP) Khan Baig, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Umar Akhter Hayyat Lalayka, SSP (Operations) Mian Maqbool, senior and junior police officers and politicians.