KARACHI - Two army men were shot dead when four armed motorcyclists attacked their pick-up truck in the Sindh capital, officials said.

The deceased were named as Abdul Razzak and Khadim Hussain. According to doctors at Jinnah Post Graduate Medical College, Razzak was brought dead while Hussain succumbed to wounds later.

“They were shot multiple times in their heads, face, chest, neck and shoulder,” he said.

“The attackers were on a motorcycle and managed escape through the congested narrow lanes,” senior police officer Raja Umar Khattab told a foreign news agency.

Karachi’s murder rate fell by half after the paramilitary Rangers, who answer to the central government and the army, launched the crackdown in 2014, targeting suspected militants and criminals.

Political activists have accused the Rangers of heavy-handed tactics, including summary executions and targeting political parties. The paramilitary force denies the charges.

The city of 20 million is frequently hit by religious, political and ethnic violence. According to statistics compiled by provincial police, 390 people have died in targeted killings this year so far, of whom 18 were police. Of the 1,019 such killings last year 70 were policemen.

The killing of army personnel outside Pakistan’s northwestern restive tribal areas on the Afghanistan border and southwestern Balochistan remains rare.

Last December, two army men were gunned down in a parked military vehicle in Saddar area, a few kilometres away from Tuesday’s incident.

Killings condemned: The Top leadership condemned the yesterday’s killing. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the terrorist attack on military personnel in Karachi and directed interior ministry and Sindh government to bring the attackers to book.

“We will not allow these terrorists to derail the ongoing operation for restoration of peace in Karachi,” he said in a statement. The PM prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and courage to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid also condemned the killings and reiterated the his government’s resolve to continue war against terrorism.