LAHORE: Six suspected militants belonging to a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed in an ‘encounter’ here early Wednesday morning, police said.
A Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) spokesperson said police “received information that nine to ten suspects belonging to the Ustad Aslam Group of the banned TTP” were present near Tallat Park in Kachi Abadi Sherakot, Lahore.
He said they were planning to attack law enforcement agencies’ offices and prominent personalities in Lahore.
A CTD team reached the scene and challenged the suspects, who opened indiscriminate fire at the officials, said the official. At this, the security personnel retaliated, he added.
“When firing stopped, six suspects – later identified – were found dead. They were killed by firing of their own accomplices,” the spokesman said, adding that “three to four suspects managed to escape in the dark.”
Weapons and explosives were also recovered, including “four to five kilograms of explosives, four detonators, two Kalashnikov rifles, three motorcycles, four pistols, and 97 bullets.”
“An investigation is underway to arrest the escaped terrorists,” said the CTD spokesperson.
After the March 27 blast at Lahore’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park that killed at least 72 and injured hundreds, the army confirmed a province-wide operation for Punjab to target militants, their facilitators and their hideouts.
The announcement initially appeared to have disturbed the civil-military equation, as it was not fully clear whether the Punjab government and the military were on the same page about the operation. The Punjab government had been resisting a military-led operation in the province, insisting its security forces were sufficient for the task.
However, the provincial government attempted to reach an understanding last week with the military leadership in a high-level huddle that was not made public by either side.