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Bacha Khan Attack and Its Aftermath

Syeda Mazhar

Once again an educational institution in Pakistan came under attack killing at least 22 students and creating havoc in the hearts and minds of every household of Pakistan. Just when we Pakistanis had started to believe that the backs of the terrorists have been broken and we can take a sigh of relief, mayhem was wreaked.
Four days before the attack Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parikar passed an indirect threat to Pakistan while blaming Pakistan based element for Pathankot attack. He warned that India will respond in a similar manner. But is it similar when instead of targeting an armed force base they target children a soft target which should not be guarded militarily! A few days before the attack, authorities had closed some schools in Peshawar because they believed an attack was imminent. The attack happened as the students of the university gathered at the school for a poetry recital to commemorate the death anniversary of Gandhian Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. It was 9.30 am when four men entered classrooms and accommodation blocks, opening fire on teachers and students. They were as usual armed with suicide vests. The university was reportedly not adequately secured, especially at the backside of the building which had low boundary wall. The thick blanket of fog also aided the assailants.
Investigations revealed 21 people had been killed, mostly students at an all-male hostel. But the death toll could rise to as many as injured are still critical. Among the victim included two gardeners, a caretaker and a professor. The 27 year old university lecturer Syed Hamid Hussain fought the attackers and saved the lives of many of his students. Once again in this sordid and morbid story of bloodshed and killings a hero has emerged who provided that glimmer of hope which is dying a thousand deaths in every heart of the Pakistanis.
The success of the Zarb-e- Azb had dulled the pain of the APS attack and had lifted the hopes of the nation. But this new incident has clearly shown us that we are not out of the storms yet. However, one has to acknowledge that the Army has done its best it is ironically the champions of democracy, these politicians who are causing obstacles. Under the camouflage and disguise of the name of democracy these politicians are doing nothing in fact are creating hurdles to make this war against terror a success. No concrete steps are being taken for the National Action Plan to be implemented. It is aptly said by Anchor Shahid Masood that the National Action Plan is like an orphaned child who may end up at some orphanage with nobody to claim it. It seems that any success or inroads made by the Zarb-e-Azb is an eye sore for those in power as it is threatening their own existence. It is apparent how the entire Sindh government is not happy with the prevailing peace in Karachi and they are adamant to restrict the Rangers powers incase more of their people are not busted. While the Punjab government wait their mouth in their throats for the operation to start in Punjab. Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Shareef was quick to reach Charsadda to boost the morale of the security personnel and also took part in the operation. However Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif just gave his perfunctory statement not bothering to cut his trip short in fact extended it for a stay over at London. Obviously for him it is a usual everyday routine for which his presence is not required. What’s twenty lives here or there, he has bigger ventures to conquer. Worst of it is that the entire ministry of Foreign affairs seems to have been paralyzed with no statement coming from their side, as usual pushing the Army in front to face the media and the general public’s concern. At least Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Perwez Khattak urged the federal government to take up the matter of terrorism with the Afghan Government and also send the Afghan Refugees back to their country to improve law and order whom Pakistan has been hosting since 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The phone calls of the attackers were traced to neighbouring Afghanistan giving a clear indication that the attack planners were based somewhere in that country. Further investigations revealed that the attack commander was in contact with the Indian Embassy in Jalalabad and that the attackers were paid 30 lacs rupees by the embassy to carry out the attacks. Further major breakthrough has achieved in identifying the Charsadda attackers. Five facilitators have been arrested in this context. The modus operandi and the involvement of these facilitators have been explained in detail by the DG ISPR. However he said “We have come to the conclusion that terrorism cannot be fought while there are accomplices and facilitators. Terrorism is a problem being faced by the whole world but all societies play their own role”. He also requested society to be aware of our surrounding. “All institutions must play their part, all societies must play their part.” While chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Shareef has telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and shared with him investigation details of the BKU attack the Prime Minister of Pakistan has yet to surface from his own engagements to come face to face with the people of Pakistan whom he has repeatedly failed to protect.

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