Police say the blast happened when its officers spotted a suspicious car and ordered the driver to halt for routine checking.
A powerful car bomb detonated near a residential area in Islamabad, killing two suspected militants and an officer, police has said.
At least three police officers and seven passersby were wounded in the bombing on Friday. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the explosion.
Police said in a statement that the blast happened when police officers spotted the car and ordered the driver to halt for routine checking.
Instead of stopping, its driver detonated explosives hidden inside. A female passenger in the car also was killed, Suhail Zafar Chattha, a senior police officer in Islamabad told reporters at the scene.
TV footage showed a burning car as police officers cordoned off the area.
Residents said they saw policemen on motorcycles chasing a car and ordering a man inside the vehicle to come out.
Chattha, the city's deputy police chief confirmed that account, saying the suspect blew up the explosive-laden vehicle after being surrounded by police officers.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the bombing and thanked the police.
"Police officers stopped the terrorists by sacrificing their blood and the nation salutes its brave men," Sharif said in a statement.
The TTP has stepped up attacks on Pakistan's security forces since November, when the group unilaterally ended a months-long ceasefire with the country's government.
The latest violence comes days after several TTP detainees overpowered their guards at a counterterrorism centre in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday after snatching police weapons and taking three officers hostage.
On Tuesday, Pakistan’s special forces raided the detention centre, triggering an intense shootout in which the military later said 25 detainees linked to the TTP were killed in Bannu, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and part of a former tribal region.
Three troops and at least three hostages were killed in that incident.
Resurgence in terrorism poses a renewed threat to our national security. Our valiant security forces are fully capable of dealing with this threat. I pay rich tributes to our brave sons of the soil who took part in Bannu operation. May Allah accept the sacrifices of our martyrs— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) December 21, 2022
The government has since stepped up security across the country, based on intelligence reports that the TTP, also known as Pakistani Taliban, had dispatched fighters to carry out attacks at public places and police stations.
TTP is not the same as the Afghan Taliban. These are two different entities with contrasting ambitions and their leadership has almost always varied, though many of their affiliates have shared close family ties.