Operation For The Rescue Of Hostages

On 10 October 2009 at around 11:30 am, nine militants linked to the Khariji-Takfiri group Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan drove in a white van and approached a checkpoint near GHQ, dressed in army uniforms with their vehicle bearing military license plates and GHQ stickers in a perfect deceptive strategy ambushed the Pak Army soldiers at the check point. The soldiers retaliated sparking a gun battle during which the militants charged towards the GHQ. There was a huge confusion at the time of ambush as no one knew who was enemy and who was soldier.

Soldiers take positions after attack by TTP terrorists on the checkpoint seen at the back near GHQ.

The snipers who were positioned on top of a building also took some time to recover as they initially got confused after the armed confrontation when they saw uniformed soldiers running towards the GHQ raising slogans of "Allah-u-Akbar", these snipers believed them as own soldiers probably going to protect the officers and soldiers present inside the building. But once these Takfiri terrorists started killing people in front of the offices, the enemy was identified and the snipers killed four of them on the spot. Two officers - Brig. Anwarul Haq and Lt. Col Muhammad Waseem were also martyred during the gun battle. Brig. Anwarul Haq was present at the security office when the attack took place, he and another officer came out of the office to assess the situation, Brig. Anwarul Haq asked a uniformed terrorist that what he was doing, the terrorist turned and fired at the officers. The initial gun battle continued for around 50 minutes which left 2 officers and 4 soldiers martyred while 4 terrorists were killed.

2 of the 4 Takfiri terrorists killed in the initial gun battle with the soldiers.

Pak Army soldiers take positions near the GHQ during the attack.

The militants were armed with grenades, IEDs and suicide jackets apart from rifles. During the attack, the rest of the militants managed to penetrate and entered the Military Intelligence office and took around 40 military and civilian officers hostage in a room with one suicide bomber among the hostages guarding them. The terrorists later took the hostages into the basement which could make the rescue efforts even more difficult.

Helicopters flying for surveillance over areas near GHQ while soldiers hold positions on the ground.

Helicopters flew for air surveillance over areas adjacent to the headquarters with a view to locate the militants who had fled. During the standoff the militants had put up a number of demands but the release of over 100 captured terrorists was their main demand. During the day some of the hostages luckily escaped and provided inside information.

The next day at dawn, on 11 October 2009 at around 6:00 am, SSG commandos from the Anti Terrorist Unit - Zarrar Company launched an operation to rescue the hostages. It was difficult as one suicide bomber was among the hostages with the strategy to blow himself incase of expected assault to cause maximum casualty, they had also planted explosives at four places in the the building in order to blow it up if anyone tried to enter. The critical situation showed that the commandos might not be able to capture or kill the Takfiri terrorists without some loss of human lives.

First the decision was taken to storm the room where the hostages were being held but later another strategy was adopted as two brave commandos volunteered to come forward to face the terrorists in order to divert their attention so that other commandos could storm the terrorists. The commandos stormed the terrorists and this strategy proved successful but not before those two brave commandos knowingly embraced martyrdom, the commandos gunned down 4 Takfiri terrorists rescuing 30 hostages in the first phase.

It was nearly a precise operation lasting roughly for 45 minutes with all care taken to rescue the hostages unharmed by ensuring that the suicide jacket-wearing captors were targeted with pinpoint accuracy, however in this process three hostages including a peon and a surveyor were martyred by terrorists firing. The credit went to the expertise of the commandos who killed the suicide bomber before he could detonate himself causing the mission to fail.

Following the success of commandos, the frustrated gang leader Mohammed Aqeel alias Dr. Usman gathered all the remaining explosives, IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device), suicide jackets etc. and blew it up along with himself  injuring himself and five commandos in the process but was caught in injured condition. Five commandos later died of their injuries.

SSG commandos return after completing the operation.

People gather near the GHQ to pay rich tribute to their soldiers.

The next day on 12 October 2009, large number of people gathered near the GHQ with prayers and flowers to pay rich tribute to their heroes which continued for weeks. This incident revived the spirit of unity in the nation, an essence of Islamic values.