QUETTA - Deputy Inspector General (Transport and Telecommunications) Hamid Shakeel was martyred along with two policemen on Thursday morning when a suicide bomber, wearing a jacket containing 15kg explosives, blew himself up closed to the senior officer’s vehicle near Chaman Housing Scheme in Quetta.

Four injured policemen among eight others were shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and Civil Hospital Quetta for treatment.

“Hamid Shakeel along with Muhammad Ramazan ASI and Jaleel Ahmed driver embraced martyrdom in the terror attack,” confirmed SSP (Operations) Naseebullah Khan.

The suicide bomber targeted the DIG’s vehicle near Chaman Housing Scheme at the time when he had left his residence in GOR Colony for his office around 10am, said the police.

On receiving information of the incident, heavy contingents of police and Frontier Corps rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area. The rescue teams shifted the bodies and the injured to the CMH and Civil Hospital.

Spokesman for Civil Hospital Dr Waseem told The Nation the wounded had sustained minor injuries and their condition was out of danger.

The blast was so powerful that it destroyed the vehicle of the DIG, besides damaging three cars, a rickshaw and a motorcycle.

“It was a suicide attack that targeted DIG Hamid Shakeel,” said Civil Defence Director Aslam Tareen. He added the bomber had carried out the strike with a suicide jacket containing 15kg explosives and ball bearings.

“A hand grenade was also found at the crime scene which the bomber hurled, but it didn’t explode,” said the civil defence director, while sharing initial investigation into the attack.

DIG Hamid Shakeel was the third police officer who was targeted through a suicide strike during the last four months in Balochistan. Earlier, Chaman DPO Sajid Mohmand and Quaidabad SP Mubarak Shah were targeted by terrorists.

Three of the wounded police personnel were identified as Allauddin Constable, Muhammad Aslam Constable and Muhammad Imran Constable. The four civilians injured in the incident were Jamal Shah, Nauman, Muhammad Anwar, Saeed and Muhammad Ashraf.

Later, the funeral prayers of DIG Hamid Shakeel, his gunman and driver were offered at Police Lines Quetta, which was attended by Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, provincial ministers, MPAs, Army’s southern command commander, IG FC, IG police and other senior officials.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly condemned the blast. The prime minister expressed grief over the loss of lives and sympathised with the bereaved families.

In a statement issued in Islamabad, Abbasi paid rich tributes to the sacrifices rendered by police officials for the establishment of peace and elimination of terrorism.

The prime minister said such coward acts of terrorism reflected the defeated mindset which could not deter the resolve of the government to struggle against terrorism.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa also strongly condemned the suicide attack on DIG Hamid Shakeel and said the sacrifices of police officers won’t go astray. Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and others also condemned the loss of another brave son of the soil, Hamid Shakeel, and two other policemen.

DIG (Transports and Telecommunications) Hamid Shakeel was born in 1968 in Khuzdar and appointed DSP in the police department through Balochistan Public Service Commission in 1988.

Before, assuming the charge of DIG (transport and telecommunications), Hamid Shakeel had successfully achieved the ranks of SP, SSP and AIG. He had also discharged his legal responsibilities as SP Quetta City, SSP Operations, SSP Investigation, SSP Traffic, SSP Qilla Abdullah and AIG Admin and Development. He was targeted in the suicide attack on account of his capabilities for good governance and security.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blast but an Islamic State group affiliate has claimed a string of recent attacks in the province.