Those who died in the 3am strike by over 30 militants included six members of an elite force supporting local cops in the polls. The Election Commission of Pakistan has categorised half of the country’s 90,675 polling stations as “sensitive” or “most sensitive”.
The terrorists took brief control of the police station following an exchange of fire that continued over two hours, KP police chief Hayatullah Gandapur said, adding the police station was pounded from three directions.
According to Aneesul Hasan, another senior official, the attackers first fired sniper shots to clear their way into the building and then carried out indiscriminate firing on the cops. “They also used multiple hand grenades, which caused more casualties,” he said, adding the terrorists fled despite facing retaliatory police firing.
Violence has spiralled since the Pakistani Taliban ended a ceasefire with Islamabad in November 2022. KP and the restive Baluchistan province in the southwest have suffered the highest civilian and troop fatalities in attacks by the Pakistan Taliban, Islamic State Khurasan Province (ISKP) and other militant groups.
In 2023, deaths from terror strikes and counter-terror operations in Pakistan hit a six-year high at 1,524, according to a study by the Centre for Research and Security Studies that put injuries at 1,463 and the number of such instances at 789. KP and Balochistan accounted for 84% of the attacks and over 90% of the fatalities.