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KPO terror attack
KPO terror attack

KPO terror attack

Citizens fear for their lives in the new wave of terrorism

Karachi: Last week the residents of Karachi were left in a state of panic when terrorists stormed the Karachi Police Office at 7:15 pm. It took the law enforcement agencies hours to clear the building. After a few hours, the police claimed to have ‘cleared the building of any and all threat and managed to kill all the terrorists’.

Meanwhile, as the operation went into effect, at the main artery of Karachi on a Friday evening, roads were cordoned off and the main lights were also switched off. For the residents, it looked like a war zone, and as a result of the roads being cordoned off, traffic was in a gridlock for many hours.

Asad, a resident of PECHS, was stuck in traffic for hours, “I didn’t know what was happening, there were jammers in the area and I was stuck for hours, there was no light on the roads, I couldn’t get in touch with my family, it seemed like I was in a war zone.”

Halima, pregnant with her first child was on her way to the hospital when she got stuck in a traffic jam, “I was sure the baby would be born on the dark road, the contractions were coming faster, but our car was stuck, I was so scared, firstly because I was about to give birth and secondly, because I was fearful of terrorists in the area, what if they attacked us? I mean how safe are we? If the terrorists could infiltrate the KPO, what about other buildings in the area? It was a nightmare.”


Halima’s statement resonated with many who either openly or covertly asked the same question that ‘how safe are we?’ As the law enforcement agencies rushed to the KPO to rescue their brothers in arms, the residents were grappling with a very real fear, that a secure location was breached in the heart of the city and it caught the law enforcement agencies by surprise.

“The situation was very frightening, I mean if they could breach such a secure location, what about the residents, who are at the mercy of street criminals? Are street criminals not taking our hard-earned money and killing us? And what about the terrorists? They were amidst us this whole time, they planned and carried out the attack under their (law enforcement agencies) very noses, they could attack anywhere, how prepared are they to deal with a threat like that?” said Fahad, a resident of Shahra-e-Faisal.

A week later, Karachi is on red alert, after the attack was carried out by the separatist group TTP, law enforcement agencies are opening up to the media about the possible threat to the IG and AIG Sindh. If that was the case, why was the security not beefed up before?

“I mean, they can say what they want at this point. The terrorists had a point to prove that they can infiltrate even the most secure location in Karachi, or rather any part of the country, the police are just busy with their VIP protocol duty, that is why we saw a lapse,” a security expert analyst pointed out on conditions of anonymity.

The incident

As per details obtained from CCTV, terrorists entered the KPO at 7:15 pm. They immediately opened fire at the constable who was stationed at the main gate. They hurled grenades soon after gunning down the constable, between the mosque and KPO.


The militants, carrying automatic weapons, and grenades and wearing suicide jackets, quickly made their way inside the building where staffers were present. Once inside, they shot a janitor working there, and hurled grenades on the ground floor near the elevator.

The militants quickly went to the first floor, shooting randomly, and as soon as the law enforcement agencies were informed of the attack, police commandos, and paramilitary forces got ready to retaliate. Most of the shootouts took place on the first and second floors.

According to details of the FIR lodged at the CTD police station, the law-enforcement agencies, including police and Rangers, immediately reached the KPO after receiving information from the wireless police control about the attack.

The forces united to rid the building of the terrorists, taking a cautious approach, they entered the building from different directions. The sound of gunfire and explosions could be heard by everyone in the surrounding area, which gave the law enforcement agencies clues as to the location of the terrorists. By the time the security contingents entered the building, the militants had reached the second floor.

The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) which was also present on the crime scene was instructed to clear the building ‘by preserving the suicide jackets and other explosive materials held by the terrorists’.

According to officials, three terrorists got off a car number ALF-043 outside the Family Quarters of Police Lines. They scaled the wall of KPO, by cutting the barbed wire. Apart from the car, (which has been impounded and checked for fingerprints), there were two men on bikes who greeted the militants as they entered the secure location.


In a shootout that followed for hours, all the militants were killed, one had blown himself up on the 4th floor, and the other two were killed by law enforcement agencies.

According to BDS, the suicide vests had around 8 kgs of explosive material. The bombing damaged the building structure considerably. Meanwhile, CTD has arrested three suspects through geo-fencing, from Al-Asif Square, Sohrab Goth. The suspects have been  transferred to an undisclosed location.

KPO attack seems to be another one in the series of attacks on the police. Earlier, Peshawar saw a deadly attack on a mosque in Police Lines (another very secure location) during prayer time which killed over 100 people.

The incident at KPO claimed 5 lives of the police and rangers, who were killed in the line of duty.

Two of the slain militants have been identified as Kifayatullah who hailed from Lucky Marwat and Zalnur who hailed from North Waziristan. The third terrorist has not yet been identified, however, the police have gathered fingerprints from the car and will run it through the NADRA database for identification.

For this incident, TTP was quick to take responsibility. It is important to note that the TTP commander had initially taken the responsibility for the Peshawar attack, but it was soon retracted. However, in the case of the KPO attack, TTP claimed responsibility.



Despite the obvious threat to the police, the militants went under the radar. They targeted a more secure location with ease and carried out the attack, as per the plan. The attackers never intended to walk out alive, as is evident from the suicide jackets they wore, and one of them did detonate the bomb.

During the KPO attack, police had claimed that there were around 8 to 10 terrorists. If all of them were killed, and the videos of their dead bodies were shared with journalists, where are the dead bodies of 5 more militants? Were there 3 militants or 8? No one can be sure. What one can ascertain is whatever the law enforcement personnel says. Would there be a conclusion to this fiasco? Only time will tell.

“I mean, I heard the official say that 3 terrorists have been killed and there are 5 to 6 more, we all have the videos that were released, so where did the bodies of the other militants go?” Ahsan asks, “I mean, there was a serious security lapse and I feel that we are all sitting ducks in this city, I hope I am wrong.”

The TTP has become active in recent years, and it is known for its Modus Operandi for training suicide bombers. Their method of indoctrination is so powerful that no one has walked away from certain death. They gather men, groom them and in a way brainwash them to give up their lives ‘for a greater good’. The separatist organisation had gone underground after a successful military operation, however, the sleeper cells were very much part of Karachi.

Being a financial hub comes with a price, most of the criminal gangs that deal in arms and drugs fund the operations of the terrorist gangs, and this is how they manage to have state-of-the-art weaponry in their arsenal.


If the sleeper cells are disbanded on time, things might not escalate, but rarely are they caught. Gangs operating in arms trade and drugs need to be caught, they usually are ignored.

After the KPO attack, IG Police Sindh, Ghulam Nabi Memon held a high-level meeting and ordered a red alert throughout the province. He gave directions to take foolproof security measures for the safety of Chinese residents and foreigners associated with various development projects in Sindh.

IG Memon added that the investigation into the KPO attack will be taken to its logical conclusion. The facilitators of terrorists would be dealt with.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, his displeasure at the ‘apparent security lapse which led to the KPO attack’. He called for ‘effective’ intelligence from agencies to minimise the threat of terrorism.

“Security arrangements at government buildings should have been better. We needed to strengthen security and make it more effective as terrorists belonging to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) entered the KPO by breaching all security barriers. How did the terrorists reach the KPO building when there was a threat alert?” he asked, and added, “it was security laxity.”

With heightened security at important buildings, another attack may be thwarted. However, would the attacks continue this way? Is Pakistan facing a new and more dangerous threat of terrorism? The answer to this question remains in the affirmative unless something is not done about it quickly.


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