Pakistani police on Saturday foiled an attack on a senior counter-terrorism official Rao Anwar and killed four militants in the southern port city of Karachi, police said.

SSP Rao Anwar - FILE
SSP Rao Anwar – FILE
“Militants started chasing me in a vehicle and a motorbike as I left home with a police escort,” Rao Anwar, who has survived at least two other attempts on his life, told AFP.

He said militants opened fire as police intercepted the car and bike. The police also retaliated, killing one of the militants on the spot.

He added the three others ran away but police killed them later in an exchange of fire.

Another senior police official, Najeeb Khan, confirmed the incident and said the militants who belonged to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were wanted for several attacks on law enforcement agencies in Karachi.

It was second attempt on Anwar in little over a month. He survived a gun and grenade attack in early May in which five of the attackers were killed.

Anwar was also attacked by a suicide bomber in April 2012 while travelling home from his office. Four of his security personnel were killed in that incident.

As the top counter-terrorism police officer in Karachi, dozens of TTP militants have been killed in operations under his command in the past few months, according to local officials.

Police and paramilitary Rangers have been carrying out a major cleanup in the city since 2013 which has reduced the level of violent crime.

Pakistan has also been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency which flared following the US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan in 2001.

Initially confined to the western border areas, it later spread to major cities and has claimed thousands of civilian lives since 2004.

Gunmen stormed a bus in Karachi carrying members of the Shiite Ismaili minority community last month, killing 45 people in the first attack in the country officially claimed by the Islamic State group.

Karachi, Pakistan’s economic heart and home to some 18 million people, is rife with criminal, ethnic, political and sectarian killings which claim hundreds of lives each year.