Officials say assailants are being tracked down and will be taken into custody.
Masked gunmen riding a motorcycle shot dead two military policemen on Tuesday in Karachi, where authorities have for two years been staging a crackdown on Taliban militants and criminal gangs.
The victims’ jeep was stuck in traffic on the city’s M.A. Jinnah Road when they came under attack from behind, according to officials. “One of them died on the spot whereas the other succumbed to his injuries at the hospital,” said Jamil Ahmed, a senior police officer. The details were confirmed in a statement by Pakistan’s military, which branded the shootings a “terrorist act.”
Police told media they had discovered 9mm cartridge cases at the scene. “This is a very serious incident but we will track the attackers down soon,” Ahmed said.
Later, while paying tribute to the dead soldiers, the head of the Pakistan Army said the attack was aimed at undermining operations against the militants. “Such terrorist attacks…cannot shake our national resolve to root out terrorism from our soil once and for all,” Pakistan Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif was quoted as saying in a statement from the military’s media wing.
“The COAS instructed intelligence and security agencies to go to any length to apprehend the perpetrators [of this attack],” the statement said.
Police are frequently targeted by Islamist militants and criminal gangs in the volatile city of around 20 million, but attacks on the military are rarer. The last incident occurred on Nov. 20, when four paramilitary soldiers were killed in western Karachi while guarding a mosque.
Overall levels of militant, criminal and sectarian-linked violence have decreased significantly since paramilitary forces began a sweeping crackdown in 2013. But rights activists have questioned their methods, alleging that hundreds have been killed extra-judicially in staged firefights.