Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) police on Sunday claimed to have foiled a terror bid targeting a girls' school in Ghizer district and arrested 13 suspected terrorists.

According to Deputy Inspector General Gohar Nafees, all the arrested suspects are students of a local seminary run by a local named Inayatullah.

He said that police had also recovered explosive material and petrol during their raid on the seminary late on Saturday night, adding that the plot to target the school and college was hatched at the seminary.

He claimed that the suspects were planning to blow up the school ─ which is part of the Agha Khan Schools network ─ using bombs on Saturday night. Ahsanullah who was heading the 'terrorist group' has been arrested, the DIG said.

DIG Nafees said the 'terrorists' had confessed to their involvement in blowing up several schools in Diamer in 2016-17.

He added that the arrested suspects had also confessed to their involvement in failed attempts to target Prince Kareem Agha Khan and former Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah in a bomb attack.

Schools torched

Earlier this month, at least 15 schools were fully or partially damaged in Diamer district. At least one suspected terrorist involved in destroying the schools has been killed whereas some two dozen others have been taken into custody during crackdowns in the area.

Out of the total schools affected, at least 12 were targeted over a course of 48 hours.

In 2004, half a dozen girls' schools had been torched in one go. Girls' schools were also targeted by extremist forces in 2011 and 2015.

Some traditions and extremism are main reasons for local resistance to female education in the district, which has the lowest literacy rate in Gilgit-Baltistan.

According to Alif Ailaan’s Pakistan District Education Rankings 2017, GB received a score of 63.18, getting fourth position in the list of eight Pakistan territories with respect to quality of education.

However, Diamer is the lowest-ranking district in terms of quality of education, with a score of 36.37, and among the 10 lowest-ranking districts in Pakistan.

There are 244 government schools in the district, about 83 per cent of which are primary level, 10.6pc middle schools and 6pc high schools. There are no higher secondary schools in the district. Of the government schools, 156 are for boys and 88 are for girls, according to Alif Ailaan.

Of the 16,800 students enrolled in government schools, only 20pc or 3,479 are girls.