Two districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were rocked by blasts within a span of a few hours on Tuesday evening, targeting a police station in Kohat and a former peace committee head and police officials in Swat.
Six people, including a former Aman Committee head and two policemen, were killed when a remote-controlled bomb struck their vehicle in the Ghlo Kandaw area of Kabal tehsil in the Swat valley.
Former peace committee head Idrees Khan, two police guards Ramail and Tauheed, and a child were on their way from Kotakay to Bandai village when the bomb, planted on road, went off, leaving the four dead on the spot. Two pedestrians were also killed in the blast. One of them was later identified as Sanaullah.
Rescue 1122 officials rushed the injured to hospital, but it was learned that all six had died on the spot.
A statement issued by the outlawed TTP claimed responsibility for the attack, mentioning that Idrees Khan had been on their hit-list for nearly 13 years.
Idrees had played a prominent role in mobilising resistance against the Taliban after they overran large swathes of Swat in 2007. He was named chairman of the village Aman Committee in recognition of his bravery, and had survived multiple attempts on his life in the past.
These incidents have sent alarm bells ringing in Swat valley once again. A large number of people took to the streets across the region to express their anguish over the resurgence of militancy, urging the authorities to take immediate action to pre-empt the militants’ designs to sabotage a “hard-earned peace”.
Separately, seven workers of a mobile phone company, including an engineer, were kidnapped by militants in Swat on Tuesday, sources told Dawn.
Meanwhile, people arriving in Kabal from Matta over the past one week say “masked militants” are moving about freely in the Tehsil’s Sakhra area.
Swat valley came under the sway of militants in 2007 when the Taliban challenged the writ of the state under Mullah Fazlullah. A decisive military operation succeeded in eliminating militancy from the region in 2009. But there have been reports of late that militants have resurfaced after 12 years and they are threatening villagers with dire consequences if they denounce them to the authorities.
Hours later, Bilitang police station in Kohat came under a grenade attack, which left seven people including SHO, four constables, and two civilians seriously injured.
The Tuesday night blast followed general threats from a banned organisation.
Rescue 1122 rushed the injured to KDA teaching hospital.
District Police Officer Mohammad Suleman told Dawn the security forces and police had been receiving threats for many months and an alert had been issued against it. He said that at the time of the attack it was pitch dark due to power loadshedding therefore they could not ascertain whether the attackers were on motorcycles or pedestrians. However, the counter-terrorism department of police and armed forces, had cordoned off the entire area, and a search operation had been launched.
The names of the wounded officials are SHO Abdul Rauf Khan, constables Muzaffar Hussain, Matiullah Khan, Atique and Usama, while Arif and Sohail Khan are civilians.
The CTD later registered an FIR against unidentified terrorists and started investigations.