SWAT: One man was killed while two students were injured when unidentified militants opened fire on a school van in Charbagh tehsil on Monday.
After the incident, hundreds of students and teachers took to the streets in several areas to protest against the rising tide of insurgency in the area.
According to Rescue 1122 officials, the school van was taking students to a school at Gulibagh in Charbagh tehsil when unidentified assailants, riding on a bike, opened fire. The driver was killed on the spot, while two students were moved to the hospital after sustaining injuries.
As per latest reports, the injured students were in stable condition.
Driver killed, students in hospital after attack on van; teachers, children protest across region
“The attacker fled the scene and a search operation has been launched,” police official Ali Badshah told AFP, adding that one of the wounded boys was aged between 10 and 11.
Swat DPO Zahid Nawaz Marwat said the van driver and not the students, was the intended target.
“Police are investigating the case, and the culprit will soon be behind bars while the child who got injured in the line of fire is stable,” he said in the tweet.
So far, no organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The people of Swat, who have recently been protesting against the rise in militant attacks, were once again out on the streets in several areas after the attack.
Locals as well as students from Gulibagh, where the incident took place, held a sit-in which continued until after dark.
Meanwhile, the Private School Management Association (PSMA) held demonstrations at Nishat Chowk in Mingora, Charbagh and Khwazakhela.
The PSMA office-bearers, along with teachers and elders addressed the protesters, saying they will not tolerate any terrorist activities either against teachers, students or other staff members of any school in Swat.
They remarked that the law and order situation in Swat has been deteriorating for three months but “the security forces were helpless against a few so-called terrorists.”
“The terrorists are enemies of books, students and teachers. They should remember that the residents of Swat, including teachers and students, will never be subdued or scared,” said another PSMA representative Zafar Shilmani.
“This is the state’s responsibility to ensure security to every citizen and if the state failed, we would fight a war for peace,” said PSMA’s Ahmad Shah, adding that it was not the Swat of 2007 when a planned game was played with the people in the name of Islam and Sharia.
Meanwhile, the association has decided to keep schools in the district closed on Tuesday and said that it will participate in the civil society’s protests to be held at Nishat Chowk today (Tuesday).
The incident brought back memories of the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai on October 9, 2012, who survived a gun attack by Taliban gunmen nearly a decade ago. Her father, Ziauddin, took to Twitter to condemn Monday’s incident, calling it “Tragic and alarming”.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2022