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Safwat Ghayyur killed in suicide attack
He was an honest and respected police officer, officials say
By Javed Aziz Khan
PESHAWAR -- Safwat Ghayyur, the most decorated policeman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and who fought militants on the front lines as commandant of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary (FC), was killed along with two gunmen in a suicide attack August 4.
A total of four people were killed and nine injured in the attack that destroyed three vehicles.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed the deaths.
Superintendent of police (SP) Cantt Peshawar, Shafiullah, was the first to confirm that Ghayyur was among those killed.
He, however, said three gunmen and a driver were killed. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility, according to Taliban sources.
Eyewitnesses told Central Asia Online that Ghayyur left his office at FC headquarters around 4.30 pm and his car had just halted at a traffic signal in FC Chowk when a suicide bomber hit his vehicle.
FC soldiers started firing immediately after the blast, sending bystanders fleeing for their lives. Hundreds of shopkeepers and shoppers ran inside the Deans Trade Centre for safety. FC soldiers shut the gates of their headquarters.
“The death of Safwat Ghayyur is a great tragedy. The terrorists have struck at a time when the people of the province are already faced with devastating floods,” said Bashir Ahmad Bilor, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s senior minister.
Terrorists had targeted the officer for a long time, he said.
Ghayyur, 51, joined the police force as a commissioned officer in 1981.
His peers described him as an honest, brave and committed police officer who never compromised on his principles.
He broke the network of terrorists across Peshawar and surrounding tribal areas while heading the Peshawar city police force last year.
He was the first officer who headed a civilian force to carry out operations in the tribal areas against the terrorists.
Junior police officers praised the bravery and sacrifices of Ghayyur.
“He was the most respected officer in the country and the ideal of every junior policeman.
He is the most senior (police officer) killed so far in the war on terror,” said a police official who requested anonymity.
Apart from heading the FC and the Peshawar city police, Ghayyur served as inspector general of the Gilgit -Baltistan (previously Northern Areas) police.
He also served in the intelligence bureau. He was a close relative of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani and former federal interior minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao.
Ghayyur’s death is the latest on a long, and continuously growing, list of policemen slain in the war on terror.
“We salute the martyrdom of Safwat Ghayyur. He was a brave officer who fought against terrorists till his death,” said Iftikhar.
He added that terrorists have grown frustrated and are targeting leaders like Ghayyur, “but they cannot deter us.”
“Our jihad will continue until terrorists are eliminated. If we are required to sacrifice our own lives, we will take pride in it,” said Iftikhar, whose only son was killed in a terrorist attack last month.