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'Facilitators' behind BKU attack revealed after DG ISPR's press conference

Updated Jan 24, 2016 07:47am
The alleged facilitators of the deadly attack on a university are presented to the media. —AP
The alleged facilitators of the deadly attack on a university are presented to the media. —AP
Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa addresses a news conference in Peshawar. —AP
Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa addresses a news conference in Peshawar. —AP

PESHAWAR: The 'facilitators' behind Bacha Khan University attack were revealed before reporters on Saturday, following a press conference held by Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant-General Asim Bajwa.

The director general of the military's media wing shared details of the probe into the January 20 brutal attack on the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda which had claimed at least 21 lives.

The press briefing began with a recorded telephone conversation between the 'terrorists and a reporter' with the militants claiming responsibility for the attack.

The reporter was receiving the call from a Pakistani phone while the call came from an Afghan phone and an Afghan sim, according to the DG ISPR who added that, "This attack involved four terrorists, all of whom were killed, and four accomplices."

'Attack preparations done in Afghanistan'

Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa said the terrorists did their preparations near Torkham checkpost area in Afghanistan, then they crossed the border using public transport and travelled to Mardan —looking like "common people".

Map of Mardan and Charsadda showing 'terrorist movement'. —DawnNews Map of Mardan and Charsadda showing 'terrorist movement'. —DawnNews

He also presented a map of Mardan and Charsadda showing the alleged movement of the attackers.

"After entering Mardan, these terrorists were received by Adil and Riaz," the DG ISPR said while showing the location of the "two men's houses/hideouts on the Mardan-Charsadda road, where the terrorists were kept".

"Adil is a labourer. A few days ago he was doing some masonry work in the university, and made a map of the university so he could explain it to the attackers. And Adil is the one who helped the attackers figure out their way into the university."

These facilitators helped the terrorists embark a rickshaw and travel to nearby Imbrahimzai University, where they dismounted, from there they travelled to Bacha Khan University, the director general of the military's media wing said.

The DG ISPR said that progress has also been made in identifying the finance trail, which he said will be shared once the investigation is complete.

Society must play its part

"We have come to the conclusion that terrorism cannot be fought while there are accomplices and facilitators," Lt Gen Bajwa adding that, "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 surroundings. "All institutions must play their part, all societies must play their part."

Responding to a question the DG ISPR said that at no point had the Afghan government been blamed for the attack. "We only said that the attack was planned and handled from Afghan soil."

Answering another question regarding the Pak-Afghan border he said that, "Border management is an issue. Border management issue is brought up everytime we have a meeting with Afghanistan. We have to work on it."

"Even developed countries like United States have these challenges — look at the US-Mexico border. Our border management will improve with time, we are working on it. We are also talking to people in tribal agencies and asking them to remain vigilant."

The January 20 attack was claimed by mastermind of the APS Peshawar attack, Umar Mansoor, of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Geedar group.

A spokesperson from the TTP, Mohammad Khorasani, on the other hand had issued a conflicting statement shortly after Mansoor's claim, in which Khorasani condemned the attack, terming it "against Shariah".

Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif later telephoned Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and shared with him investigation details of of the BKU attack and also asked him to help in tracing the attackers.

General Raheel also shared the details of the attack with Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and commander of Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces in Afghanistan Gen John Campbell.

Earlier in the day, the army chief chaired a 'special security meeting' at the Corps Headquarters, Peshawar, according to a statement issued by Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lieutenant-General Asim Bajwa.

The meeting reviewed operations in Khyber Pahkhtunkhwa and Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) as well as the `Intelligence Based Operations` (IBOs), Pak-Afghan border management and the progress into the attack on the Bacha Khan University.

Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa stated that he will share further details of the meeting in a press conference to be held later today.

The meeting was attended by Corps Commander Peshawar, Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar, DG Military Intelligence (MI), director general of military operations (DGMO) and DG ISPR among other high-ranking officials of the Pakistan Army.