Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the capital city Peshawar of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, unidentified armed men targeted security guards at the Hayatabad Industrial Estate on Sunday. At the time, two security guards were checking vehicles entering the estate, while others were praying. Police said guard Akhtar Zaman died at the scene, while guard Imran Zaman was taken to Hayatabad Medical Complex and died shortly thereafter.

According to the police, the three perpetrators were riding motorcycles, and escaped. Police cordoned off the area while collecting evidence. Reportedly, attackers look for checkposts with incautious policemen. Superintendent of Police Faisal Kamran said targeting of police is on the rise, especially during the Iftar. The security guards may have been mistaken for policemen by the attackers. Describing alertness measures, he said, "One out of every three cops will be standing alert at some distance at a checkpost or police car".

The security guards were private employees of the estate sanctioned by the police department. Hayatabad police station official Ihtisham explained the police department provided their uniforms. According to Malik Niaz, president of Industrialists Association Peshawar, "They belonged to a group of private guards who assist the police in safeguarding the industrial estate [...] formed by industrialists about five years ago after an increase was reported in kidnapping cases from the estate in broad daylight". He also mentioned they had assigned more guards recently following increases in extortion and attacks.

A handout issued on Sunday evening said Chief Minister Pervez Khattak condemned the incident.