KARACHI: Two Pakistan Army personnel were gunned down Tuesday when unidentified gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in the congested, downtown Saddar area of Karachi, police and hospital officials said.
The attack took place near the Saddar Parking Plaza near Empress Market, one of the busiest markets in the metropolis.
According to reports, the attackers on motorcycles managed to escape after they opened fire on the vehicle of the security personnel, injuring both of them.
"Two army soldiers, Lance Naik Razzaq and sepoy Khadim embraced shahadat [martyrdom] in a terrorist attack on a military vehicle which was on routine duty near parking plaza Sadar Karachi," the military's media, the Inter-Services Public Relations, said in a statement.
Photo of the martyred Army personnel released by ISPR
The injured soldiers were rushed to the Jinnah Hospital, where doctors pronounced Lance Naik Abdul Razzaq dead on arrival.
Dr Seemi Jamali at the Jinnah Hospital said doctors were trying to save the life of the other person, identified as sepoy Khadim Hussain.
But later, hospital officials confirmed that the second soldier also succumbed to his wounds.
A large contingent of Pakistan Rangers and Sindh police personnel had reached the location soon after the incident, blocking the roads leading to the crime scene and cordoning off the area.
Karachi police chief Mushtaq Maher also reached the location.
"Two jawans belonging to a security agency were attacked in their vehicle. Our investigators are examining the crime scene," Karachi police chief Mushtaq Maher told reporters.
"Our forensic experts are looking for fingerprints, empty bullet shells, CCTV footage or any other clues, and we will inform you as soon as there are any updates," he said.
When asked, he said that police would try to "ascertain if there are links to any such earlier shooting incidents in the city".
According to initial reports from Counter-Terrorism Department officials, a 9mm pistol was used in the attack, with empty 9mm bullet shells found from the scene of the crime.
"9mm weapon was used in the attack. Both jawans were shot in the head," the chief of police's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Raja Umar Khattab told reporters.
Khattab said that the attackers approached the vehicle from the rear and attacked the personnel from the left side of the vehicle.
This is not the first time that security personnel have come under attack in Karachi.
In December last year, two Military Police personnel were gunned down by attackers on motorcycles in an ambush near Gul Plaza on the busy M A Jinnah Road, less than a kilometre from the scene of today's gun attack.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack on the security personnel in Karachi. He said that terrorists will not be allowed to destroy the peace of Karachi.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also condemned the attack in a statement. Geo News