All 4 attackers gunned down
Peshawarites remained in the state of mourning while tense calm prevailed in the provincial metropolis where security was extra ordinarily tightened after the terrorists bathed the Agriculture Training Institute on the main University road in blood Friday morning on the pattern of APS Peshawar attack.
At least 9 people including eight students were martyred and 38 others sustained serious injuries when four Burqa-clad terrorists stormed the Peshawar Agricultural Training Institute situated at the hub of educational institutions of the town under the cover of fire Friday morning and started indiscriminate firing in the compound. A journalist of the Print and a couple of soldiers were among the injured.
All the attackers were gunned down by the security forces during the operation spanning over several hours. Due to Friday being the closed day on account of 12 Rabiul Awal and the swift response from the security forces and the KP Police averted greater catastrophe. Foreign wire service AFP claimed to have received a phone call from a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Muhammad Khurasani owning the responsibility for the deadly attack on Friday.
It may be recalled that exactly three years back heartless terrorists had On December 16 2014 carried out one of the most horrific attacks in the history of Pakistan and massacred 150 people including 135 innocent school children in Army Public School Peshawar sending a wave of shock and resentment not only in Pakistan but the entire world as the incident had drawn condemnation worldwide. It was after than when the top civil and military leadership of the country as well as the heads of major political parties of the country had sat together and announced a 20-point National Action Plan to crush the terrorists with full might.
A group of terrorist believed to be suicide attackers, the eye witnessed said reached the main gate of the Agricultural Training Institute in rickshaw around 8.10 in the morning and forced their way into the premises, that houses offices of the Agriculture Directorate Extension, Agriculture Livestock Department, Peshawar Housing Authority and the office of the director general of agriculture, under the cover of fire. The assailants, who were Burqa-clad, hurled hand grenades followed by indiscriminate firing mostly at the student’s hostel unleashing hell in the area.
Informed by some of the panicked students from their mobile phones, the Peshawar Police reached the troubled spot with in a shot span of three to five minutes. Immediately reinforced by the army jawans, the forces kicked off the operation against the terrorists as the security forces cordoned off the area that is surrounded by the major education institutions such as Peshawar University, Agriculture University, University of Engineering and Technology, the Khyber Medical University and the historic Islamia College.
The forces though responded swiftly yet it took then several hours to clear the area and eventually moved down all the four terrorists hiding in different areas and offering resistance. By that time the heartless terrorists had already played hell as at least nine people including eight students undergoing agriculture training and a watchman were reported killed in the incident while 38 others including a local newsman and few men in uniform sustained injuries.
Of those nine dead, six bodies were brought to Hayatabad Medical Complex, while three were taken to Khyber Teaching Hospital. The martyred students have been recognized as Bilal Ahmad from Shangla, Amin Jan hailing from Bannu, Sarzameen of Buner district, Mohammad Wasim from Orakzai agency, Abdus Sadiq from Kohistan, Qasim Ali of Di Khan, Bilal s/o Khair ul Bashar from Dir, and Bilal s/o Mohammad Arif from Mansehra
“The attackers were wearing a full-face Burqa and came in a rickshaw, said IG Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Salahuddin Mehsud while talking to media adding the timely action by the men in Uniform had averted major catastrophe. Mehsud said fortunately not many students were present due to the long weekend. He said the police APCs evacuated around a dozen students from the hostel.
The security officials said the terrorist were confined to one the two students hostels while the students of the hostel no two were effectively evacuated. The students who board at the premises are undertaking their diplomas in Agriculture Sciences and Veterinary Sciences.
According to ISPR, all the four attackers were killed in the security forces operation as the clearance operation was launched afterwards. Two soldiers also sustained injuries and were shifted to Combined Military Hospital for treatment. The law enforcers also claimed to have arrested a may be terrorists colleague in injure condition. He was whisked away to an unknown place for “interrogation”.
A student giving eye witness account said he and his colleagues were sleeping when the firing started, around 8:15 AM adding he and his colleagues ran as fast as they could but two of their colleagues were injured in the firing.
“We took them out with us and brought them to the hospital. “ said a student. “Around 120 students live in the hostel but most had gone home due to the long weekend”.. Said a student Ariful Haq.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal dashed to Peshawar where he attended high-level meeting at Governor House Friday evening. The meeting chaired by the interior minister and the Governor KP Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, reviewed the overall security situation in the wake of terrorist attack that claimed nine precious lives mostly students. The meeting strongly condemned the terror incident.
The interior minister lauded timely operation and action by the security forces that helped in minimizing the damages. Ahsan Iqbal said that the forces saved the nation from a bigger catastrophe due to their valour and brave action against the attackers.
The country would be purged of the terrorists, he said adding the government will not rest until the country was cleansed from the curse of terrorism.
The meeting vowed to defeat the menace of the terrorism with full might and will not let terrorists succeed in their nefarious designs come what may.
The Interior minister announced assistance of Rs.. one million for the bereaved families of each martyr and Rs half million for each critically injured person
In the meanwhile the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has registered an FIR of terrorists attack at Peshawar Agriculture Directorate, in which nine people were martyred and dozens injured on Friday.
According to a statement, issued by CTD on Saturday the FIR was registered against unknown terrorists in police station of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). The clauses regarding lift attempt and attack on police and 7 ATA were also included in the FIR. The CTD also started investigation into the attack and sent body parts of the alleged terrorists to Lahore Forensic laboratory for DNA tests. It was also reported that the Police has traced the rickshaw in which the terrorists were driven to the Agricultural Training Institute.
The Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has called for concrete steps to curb the menace of terrorism adding both Afghanistan and Pakistan were required to frame joint strategy in this regard and to find out root cause of the terrorism . Talking to media Persons after inquiring about the health of Friday carnage victims in the hospital on Saturday the CM said the terrorists were hitting the soft targets in order to create harassment and unrest among the masses.
He lauded the effective response of the security forces and KP Police which he said were working on professional lines and fully capable to eliminate the terrorism. He also appreciated the Rescue 1122 , the Doctors and the staff of the Agriculture Directorate for effectively responding to the emergency.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah condemning terrorists attack Peshawar said that the terrorists were trying to kill our people and destroy our educational institutions but they would never succeed in their nefarious designs.
He said: “We, the people of Sindh are with the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and would never leave them alone at the time of need,” he said.