A Brigadier and his driver, also a soldier, were killed in a shooting in the Pakistani capital on Thursday morning, spreading panic across the city.

The nervousness among the capital’s residents was evident when the killing was followed by reports of another shooting around the district courts, which turned out to be false.

But a worried citizenry retreated indoors, and normally busy markets and other public places were virtually deserted in the afternoon.

Brigadier Moinudeen and his driver Asghar were in an army car when witnesses saw two gunmen shooting at the vehicle in the G-11 residential sector of the capital.

The identity of the gunmen is not known but it is suspected Islamist militants might have carried out the daytime ambush.

Islamabad Inspector-General Kalim Imam told reporters at the scene that the gunmen shot at the vehicle from both back and front. One other solider who was in the car was injured and has been hospitalised.

He said it was a targeted killing and the gunmen had tracked the movements of the Brigadier. Witnesses told journalists that the attackers, in their early 20s, escaped on a motorcycle

Following the incident, the police raided two madrassas in the neighbourhood and detained nearly 50 suspects.

The incident was the latest in the wave of violence to hit the capital in recent days, and came two days after a twin suicide attack on the International Islamic University in Islamabad, in which at least five students were killed and more than 20 injured.

Since then, all schools and colleges in the capital and neighbouring Rawalpindi have shut down for an indefinite period.

Security measures have upped even the normally tight checks in the capital ever since the Army began an anti-Taliban operation in South Waziristan last Saturday. The attacks are thought to be possible retaliation by the militants against the operation.

The military reported intense battles in the operation, claiming to have killed 24 militants since Wednesday, losing two soldiers. Four soldiers were also injured, the Inter Services Public Relations said in a statement.

It is not clear though how much troops have been able to advance towards the main Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan.

More In: International | News