21 dead as Bacha Khan University rocked by fire, blasts
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): At least 21 people were killed on Wednesday morning when heavy gunfire and explosions rocked the Bacha Khan University in the Charsadda district of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, officials said.
Rescue and police sources claimed seeing the bodies of at least 21 people. Shaukat Yousafzai, a public representative and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) spokesman, told reporters up to 60 people had been wounded.
The assailants gunned down a professor and a student, according to Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police Saeed Wazir, who had no idea about the number of the attackers. Gunshots rang out inside the building for hours.
Some of the wounded security personnel, four of them university staffers, and dozens of students and teachers were evacuated to the District Headquarters Hospital in Charsadda, where an emergency was imposed in all medical facilities.
University Vice-Chancellor Fazal Rahim Marwat told Pajhwok Afghan News army troops conducted a clearing operation on the sprawling campus. He said students and teachers were among the casualties resulting from the attack.
Police said at least three gunmen entered the university premises and opened indiscriminate gunfire, reminiscent of the December 2014 attack on the Army School in Peshawar, where more than 140 students and teachers had been killed.
VC Marwat said the university came under attack hours before it was to host a poetic session on the death anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan whom the institution is named after. However, he would not say who was behind the assault.
Fazal Shakoor, a member of the provincial assembly from the district, confirmed army contingents were on the 22-canal campus. .About 3,000 students are enrolled at the university, which is located some 40 kilometres from Peshawar.
Soldiers had rushed from Peshawar to the scene and cordoned off the area around the university, tweeted Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa. Police have moved into the campus.
As he prepared to leave his hostel for the English department of the university, bursts of gunfire rocked the campus, said teacher Shabir Khan. “Most of students and teachers were in classrooms at the time,” he added.
As a result of the brazen attack, claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), all shools, colleges and universities in Peshawar were closed. Panicked parents and guardians streamed to educational institutes across the city to pick the children.
President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Miister Nawaz Sharif and public opinion leaders denounced the attack as a barbaric act. They promised stern action against the perpetrators, extending condolences to the victims' families.
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