Po­lice comb Charsadda, ar­rest sev­eral sus­pects

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

A First In­for­ma­tion Re­port (FIR) was reg­is­tered on Thurs­day against the four uniden­ti­fied mil­i­tants who at­tacked Charsadda's Bacha Khan Univer­sity, killing 20 peo­ple and in­jur­ing at least a dozen oth­ers.

An in­jured univer­sity em­ployee, Muham­mad Fayyaz, ex­pired this morn­ing in the Neu­ro­surgery In­ten­sive Care Unit at Pe­shawar's Lady Read­ing Hos­pi­tal ? where two oth­ers wounded in the at­tack re­main in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. The death toll now stands at 21. The FIR lodged was lodged on be­half of the Counter-Ter­ror­ism Depart­ment ( CTD) by Sta­tion House Of­fi­cer Ir­fan­ul­lah of the Serd­heri po­lice sta­tion in CTD Mar­dan un­der sec­tions 7 and 15AA of the Anti-Ter­ror­ism Act. Search op­er­a­tions in Charsadda are on­go­ing as po­lice comb the area around the univer­sity. Sev­eral sus­pects have been ar­rested. Dur­ing ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions, four grenades, 16 mag­a­zines and 240 car­tridges were re­cov­ered from the site of the at­tack, CTD sources said.

Sev­eral schools were closed last week­end af­ter in­tel­li­gence sug­gested mil­i­tants were plan­ning an at­tack, ac­cord­ing to Muham­mad Amir Rana, di­rec­tor of the pri­vate Pak­istan In­sti­tute for Peace Stud­ies. A Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa govern­ment spokesman said they were closed as part of a se­cu­rity drill.

Fa­zle ur-Rahim Mar­wat, the univer­sity's vice chan­cel- lor, said se­cu­rity forces alone could not keep stu­dents safe, say­ing it re­quired a move away from an ex­treme in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Is­lam. Af­ter the Pe­shawar at­tack, the govern­ment promised to set up a joint In­tel­li­gence Di­rec­torate, but that has not hap­pened yet.

"The govern­ment is try­ing to de­velop a re­sponse but is fac­ing ca­pac­ity is­sues," Rana said, par­tic­u­larly in the area of in­tel­li­gence-shar­ing among the pow­er­ful in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and the po­lice. Rana, whose in­sti­tute tracks mil­i­tant move­ment, said the divi­sions in the Tal­iban over who car­ried out Wed­nes­day's at­tack prob­a­bly has more to do with a fear of ret­ri­bu­tion than a re­flec­tion of a deeply di­vided Tal­iban.

The back­lash that fol­lowed APS at­tack was so se­vere that it prob­a­bly left the Tal­iban "re­luc­tant to take credit", he added, not­ing that Afghan se­cu­rity forces joined in op­er­a­tions against Pak­istani Tal­iban hide­outs after­ward. In a press con­fer­ence af­ter the at­tack, Pak­istan mil­i­tary spokesman Lt. Gen Asim Ba­jwa stated the at­tack­ers car­ried mo­bile phones with Afghan num­bers and "were in touch with their han­dlers in Afghanistan."

He added that the mil­i­tants hate education be­cause it is a sym­bol of progress. Pak­istan main­tains that its mil­i­tants of­ten find refuge in Afghanistan. Civil so­ci­ety and politi­cians ex­pressed sol­i­dar­ity with at­tack vic­tims by or­gan­is­ing protests and vig­ils across the coun­try.

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