Diamer Deputy Commissioner Didar Malik on Sunday asked a 12-member jirga working with the district authorities to handover 27 suspects allegedly involved in the arson attacks on schools in Diamer district, DawnNewsTV reported.

A meeting was held at the DC office in Chilas, where former Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Deputy Speaker Malak Miskeen, GB Minister for Excise and Taxation Haider Khan, GB Forests Minister Imran Wakeel and other notables were also present.

DC Malik asked the jirga members to handover the suspects before 4pm on August 13, otherwise, a search operation will be conducted in both Tangir and Darel tehsils.

The jirga assured the deputy commissioner and security officials that they will make efforts to handover the suspects as well as their facilitators and requested that officials be prevented from moving into the areas before the agreed deadline.

On the night of August 2, more than a dozen schools — half of which were girls-only centres — had been burned down in Diamer by unidentified assailants.

According to an initial report of the incident, the "miscreants" carried out the attacks in an "organised manner". The assailants first vandalised the buildings and then set them on fire, said the report.

The report also claimed that the investigation uncovered "important evidence" that suggested that foreigners and some local facilitators were involved in the incident.

No one has claimed responsibility for the incident so far.

A grand operation was launched in the area to trace and arrest the culprits following the decision of a meeting attended by senior officials of security forces, law enforcement agencies, civil administration as well as locals. Later a police official was martyred and another official was wounded in an exchange of fire with armed men during a raid on a house in Tanger tehsil.

On August 5, a judge going to attend the martyred police constable's funeral had escaped unhurt in a gun attack. However, the armed men who were hiding in the mountains continued to attack police and other government vehicles to stop them from using the roads leading to Tanger and Darel tehsils of Diamer district. Even locals faced difficulties in passing through the area.

Police said the prime suspect allegedly involved in the torching of girls schools, Shafiq, was killed in Tanger on August 5. However, sources told Dawn that the suspect was killed allegedly by the relatives of the policeman who had been attacked during the raid on a house on Saturday.