MULTAN, Pakistan — Counter-terrorism officers killed four insurgents, including two women, in a shootout on a highway in eastern Punjab province on Saturday, officials said.
Senior officer Rai Tahir said insurgents traveling in a car opened fire when police stopped them near the city of Sahiwal. He said the police officers were acting on intelligence gleaned from a previous operation. No officer was hurt in the shootout.
Tahir said three suspects escaped on a motorcycle and are being pursued by police, adding that insurgents often use women and children as human shields during travel.
The four people killed were identified by relatives as residents of the Kot Lakhpat area in the suburbs of Lahore — grocery store owner Mohammad Khalil, 42, his wife Nabila, 38, their 13-year-old daughter Areeba and their friend, Zeeshan Javed, who was driving the car and police said was on the country's wanted terrorist list.
Kalil was survived by his wounded son, Umair, who told a local TV reporter that the family was going to attend a wedding.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in provincial capital Lahore and in Sahiwal, accusing police of killing innocent citizens in what they said was a staged shootout to showcase police performance.
Police Chief Amjad Saleemi ordered a probe into the shootout by a joint investigation team, comprising representatives of various security agencies, seeking a report within three days.
The chief minister of Punjab province, Usman Buzdar, said the all officers involved in the incident were being questioned.