Taliban gunmen attack Pakistan university

Jan 21, 2016, 08:00 IST | Agencies

One year after the army school massacre in Peshawar, Taliban gunmen attacked a nearby university, killing 25 students
and teachers

Peshawar: Heavily armed Taliban suicide attackers yesterday stormed a prestigious university and opened indiscriminate fire on students and teachers, killing at least 25 people and wounding 50 others in Pakistan's restive northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Students who managed to escape the attack cry for their friends. Pic/AFP
Students who managed to escape the attack cry for their friends. Pic/AFP

The gunmen entered the Bacha Khan University, named after iconic leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan alias Bacha Khan in Charsadda, some 50 kms southwest of Peshawar, and opened fire on students and teachers in classrooms and hostels, police said.

Victims' family members wait outside a local hospital where the injured were taken after the attack. Pic/AP
Victims' family members wait outside a local hospital where the injured were taken after the attack. Pic/AP

On Bacha's death anniv
Blasts and heavy gunfire were heard from inside the campus where a poetic symposium was in progress to mark the death anniversary of Bacha Khan who died on January 20, 1988.

Rescuers shift an injured victim to a nearby hospital. Pic/AFP
Rescuers shift an injured victim to a nearby hospital. Pic/AFP

University Chancellor Dr Fazal Rahim said there were over 3,000 students inside the university along with an additional 600 guests who had arrived to attend the poetic symposium to mark the death anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Party leader and provincial lawmaker Shaukat Yousafzai said that 25 people, including a professor, were killed and around 50 others injured in the terrorist attack on the university.

The injured were shifted to a hospital. An emergency has been declared in all hospitals in the town. All schools have been closed in the area. Yesterday's attack came a little over a year after Taliban militants massacred over 150 people, mostly students, in an assault on an army-run school in Peshawar in December, 2014.

The operation
Yousafzai said between four to 10 attackers were involved in the attack. “Such cowardice attack could not shake the resolve of the Government in the fight against terrorism,” he said.

Soon after the attack, a large contingent of security forces rushed to the site and started evacuating students. Pakistan Army troops also rushed to the university from Peshawar and started operation. Army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Salim Bajwa tweeted that four terrorists were killed during operation launched by security forces to clear the University. “Snipers killed 2 more terrorists on roof top, total terrorist killed so far 4. All buildings & roof top taken over by Army...,” he tweeted. “Clearance of university block by block continues by Army troops.”

Earlier, two terrorists who were firing from inside the university block were shot and killed by the army. The terrorists were contained in two blocks within the university and troops, commandos are participating in the operation. The army said that operation has been completed and all the terrorists were killed by the security forces. It said clearance operation is underway in the campus. Army helicopters are hovering over the University.

Prime Minister Sharif, who arrived in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, directed federal ministers to rush to Charsadda to take stock of the situation.

Revenge for Peshawar
Taliban claimed responsibility and said the attack was carried out by four attackers. A spokesman of the militant group called media houses and said it was revenge for those killed by security forces since Peshawar school attack. The attacks would continue, he warned.

4 Number of attackers Taliban claims carried out the attack

3,000 Number of students inside the university at the time of the attack

600 Number of guests who had come to attend the symposium on the death anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Hero professor dies fighting militants

Fighting militants In a heroic act, a Pakistani chemistry professor yesterday lost his life trying to protect his students using his licensed pistol against armed Taliban militants. Assistant professor Syed Hamid Hussain, 34, fought back against the terrorists as he warned students not to leave the building of the university. Students spoke of the hero teacher, who flashed his pistol but was gunned down by the militants besides 24 others.

'Taliban's revenge against Pak's wipe-out claim'
Former Jammu and Kashmir DGP M. M. Khajuria yesterday dubbed the terrorist attack on the Bacha Khan University a revenge against the Pakistan Army’s claims that they have eliminated Taliban from the country. “This is a revenge attack against the Pakistan Army to refute its claims that they have eliminated Taliban. By these attacks, they want to convey the message that they are still active in the region and they can attack,” said Khajuria.

Desperate attempts to overthrow Pak govt
Defence Expert P.K. Sehgal yesterday condemned the attack and said the Taliban, which is taking revenge on the Pakistan Army, is making desperate attempts to overthrow the government in Islamabad. “This university, which houses over 3,000 students, would be from families of security forces. So, it’s a way of taking revenge against the Pakistan Army. Pakistani itself has been harbouring this status. The greatest threat to Pakistan is from its own home grown elements, which they call soldiers of Islam,” said Sehgal.

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