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Chilas school attackers trained in Afghanistan: GB IG Police

06 August, 2018

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DIAMER: Gilgit-Baltistan police claimed on Sunday that Chilas school attackers were trained in Afghanistan. “So far 31 suspects have been arrested over involvement in attacks on schools in the area. Raids are underway in different areas to arrest the rest of the suspects,” IG Gilgit-Baltistan Inspector General of Police Sanaullah Abbasi said.

Police began conducted raids in various parts of Diamer district Saturday night to track down those responsible for the arson attacks. A police constable was killed and another wounded in a gun battle with armed suspects during a late night raid in Tanger area.

The prime suspect believed responsible for the torching of 14 girls schools over a period of two days in Diamer district was also killed during the search operation in the Tanger area, Diamer Police spokespers on Muhammad Wakeel said. Shafiq ? who has no known association with any organised militant or terrorist outfits but is referred to as a ‘militant’ and ‘militant commander’ by police officials ? was one of the suspects behind the brazen arson attacks targeting schools in Chilas, Darel and Tanger tehsils of Diamer district.

Wakeel said that the ‘militants’ in Tanger had been attempting to flee the area but locals surrounded them, after which Shafiq was killed.

“A suicide jacket, hand grenade and arms and ammunition were also seized from Shafiq’s house,” DIG Diamer Division Gohar Nafees said. “Search operations in the area will continue till the elimination of terrorists,” he asserted.

Police sources said that locals were also taking part in the search operations, and that most of the ‘militants’ in the area were locals.

GB local government spokesman Faizullah Faraq said that miscreants had occupied a road in Tanger and were firing at the passing cars. The car of Sessions Judge Malik Inayat Rehman, who was going from Shatial to attend the funeral of the slain police constable (his cousin) in Tanger, was also fired at as it travelled along the road, his father, former GB Legislative Assembly speaker Muhammad Miskeen, said.Although the car was badly damaged, the judge escaped unharmed, he said, adding that the judge had not been alerted to the security threat by police.

GB Information Minister Shams Mir said that a team of forensic experts from Islamabad had arrived in the region to investigate the arson attacks. He said the experts are part of a joint investigation team constituted to probe the incidents and track down those responsible.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has also taken notice of attack on schools and directed the interior secretary and the secretary for Kashmir Affairs and GB governments to submit reports within the next two days.

GB chief minister has ordered the chief secretary to ensure the schools destroyed in the incident are restored to working condition in the next 15 days. According to local government spokesperson Faizullah Faraq, the restoration work will begin soon and the schools will re-open in the last week of August.

In 2004 also, half a dozen girls’ schools had been torched in one go. Girls’ schools were also targeted by extremist forces in 2011 and 2015. Some traditions and extremism are main reasons for local resistance to female education in the district, which has the lowest literacy rate in Gilgit-Baltistan.

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