KARACHI - Policewoman Suhai Aziz Talpur heard of the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi while driving to work.
She rushed to the scene to find two of her colleagues dead, and a trio of insurgents attempting to blow their way into the building.
Her fast response and actions during the nearly two-hour assault on the diplomatic mission in Karachi have been praised for saving countless lives, turning 30-year-old Talpur into an instant celebrity.
“The moment I arrived, an exchange of fire was taking place, blasts had been heard, smoke was emanating,” Talpur, an assistant superintendent, told Reuters.
Right away, she took up a position to fire at the attackers and began calling for reinforcements.
“We started to advance inside the consulate and gradually neutralized the situation,” she said.
Since the attack a picture of Talpur holding her pistol, flanked by commandos, has gone viral on social media in Pakistan. Her bravery has also earned her a nomination for the country’s highest award for police officers.
Friday’s attack, claimed by separatist insurgents from the impoverished southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, killed four people, including two police officers who Talpur said were the real heroes.
“The real credit goes to assistant sub-inspector Ashraf (Dawood) and constable Amir (Khan) who kept the attackers engaged and sacrificed their lives,” she said.
Once the attack ended, Talpur was among the first police officers to enter the mission and began reassuring the staff.
“When I entered there was a Chinese lady and three or four Pakistani men,” she recalled. “The Chinese lady hugged me and I told her ‘you are in safe hands, things are under control’.”