ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has put the federal capital Islamabad on high alert after a recent militant attack in which an officer was killed and two others injured, police said on Wednesday.
Militants often target security forces in Pakistan, but the country’s capital has been largely peaceful in recent years.
On Monday evening, two militants on motorbikes opened fire on police officers patrolling the city. Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who attended the funeral of the officer killed in the attack on Tuesday, said both militants were killed in the shooting.
The minister gave no further details on the incident, but outlaw Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan issued a statement claiming responsibility for the assault.
Inspector Naeem Iqbal, spokesman for Islamabad police, told Arab News on Wednesday that the Pakistani capital “was put on high alert after the terrorist attack”.
“A comprehensive strategy has been developed to avoid the repetition of attacks on police officers,” he said, adding that 55 police officers have been killed in the city in different militant attacks over the past seven years.
“Law and order in the federal capital is under control,” Iqbal said. “We are setting up snap checks and conducting search operations in different areas of the city to apprehend criminals.”
The TTP, which is a separate movement from the Afghan Taliban, has fought for years to overthrow the government in Islamabad and rule with its own brand of Islamic law. In December, the group declared the end of a month-long ceasefire, accusing the Pakistani government of breaching conditions, including a prisoner release agreement and the formation of negotiating committees.
Earlier this month, the head of the Pakistani army’s media wing said armed operations against the group had been revived since the end of the ceasefire.
Khawaja Khalid Farooq, former head of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority, told Arab News that the militants are now trying to show their strength after talks with the government failed.
“They have taken a blitzkrieg approach to target Islamabad police in order to spread panic in the federal capital,” he said, adding that different militant groups have joined them in recent times to target security forces. security across the country.
He expressed doubts about the possibility of major attacks, but said the militants still posed a challenge to the country’s security apparatus.
“Militant groups in Pakistan have weakened over the years as a result of military operations, but we must recognize that their sleeper cells still exist to carry out sporadic terrorist activities,” Farooq said.
“Regular operations against militants based on intelligence information can help meet the challenge.”
Security analyst, retired General Ejaz Awan, said the Islamabad attack was an isolated incident.
“This is neither a trend nor a new wave of activism in Pakistan,” he told Arab News. “People should not panic. Our vigilant and courageous security forces have already broken the backbone of the militants.
Best known in the West for attempting to kill Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl who won the Nobel Prize for her work in support of girls’ education, the TTP has killed thousands of military and civilians over the years in bombings and suicide attacks.
Among their attacks was a 2014 assault on a military school in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which killed 149 people, including 132 children.