Militants storm Pakistan police station killing 10 and injuring six ahead of critical elections

At least 10 personnel were killed in an early morning militant attack in northwest Pakistan after a police station came under fire, officials said.

Six others were injured in the attack that took place just days ahead of the critical general assembly elections in the country to pick the next prime minister.

More than 30 militants targeted a police station in northwestern Pakistan’s Draban region in the already volatile Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa at around 3am on Monday and launched sniper fire to enter the premises, police officials said.

“After entering the building, the terrorists used hand grenades which caused more casualties to the police," said Malik Anees ul Hassan, the deputy superintendent of police in Draban.

The exchange of fire lasted more than two and a half hours, Khyper Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial police chief Akhtar Hayat Gandapur said, confirming that the attack on the police station came from three directions.

The attackers briefly took control of the police station, he said.

With merely days to go for an explosive round of federal elections, Pakistan’s two provinces Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have seen a sharp surge in attacks.

A national assembly candidate was shot dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday, and another political leader was shot dead in his party’s election office in Balochistan province on the same day.

At least four people were killed in Balochistan on Tuesday in a bomb attack carried out by the Islamic State.

Officials at the Election Commission of Pakistan initially said the security situation in the two regions could force delay in conducting the elections. They later said they will proceed with the scheduled time after reviewing the law and order situation.

Draban lies in an area considered a stronghold of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party. The conservative religious party’s leader, Maulana Fazal Ur Rehman, travelled last month to Afghanistan to meet the Taliban’s supreme spiritual leader, local media reported, one of his few known meetings with foreign dignitaries.

The party has also called for a delay in Pakistan’s polls due to security concerns.