6 arrested, case registered after bus comes under gun attack in GB’s Chilas

Published December 3, 2023
Funeral prayers of those killed in bus attack offered in Chilas on Sunday. — photo by author
Funeral prayers of those killed in bus attack offered in Chilas on Sunday. — photo by author

Diamer police on Sunday lodged a first information report (FIR) and arrested six suspects in connection with an attack on an Islamabad-bound bus in Gilgit-Baltistan’s (GB) Chilas a day earlier.

At least nine people, including two soldiers, lost their lives and 21 passengers received injuries on Saturday evening after unknown gunmen targeted a bus from nearby hills which caused the vehicle to collide with a goods truck.

The interior minister of GB had said the bus driver stepped on the accelerator due to the firing which led to its head-on collision with a goods truck. He had equated the gun attack with terrorism.

So far, no organisation has accepted responsibility for the incident.

Speaking to Dawn.com today, the public relations officer (PRO) for the Diamer commissioner said a case was registered against unknown miscreants by Diamer Station House Officer Azmat Shah.

“Six suspects have been taken into custody at two police stations so far,” PRO Raja Ashfaq Tahir said.

The official said all entry and exit points of GB had been closed and security in the region was on high alert. The police have launched search operations across Diamer and traffic on the Karakoram Highway would remain suspended today, Tahir added.

Diamer Deputy Commissioner retired Captain Arif Ahmad also confirmed the same developments to Dawn.com.

Separately, Chilas Assistant Commissioner Sadaqat Ali said the funeral prayers of the deceased were offered with GB Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan and top army officials in attendance. The bodies were later dispatched to their hometowns by Rescue 1122.

Earlier, GB Interior Minister Shams Lone visited injured persons at the Chilas hospital and directed the medical staff to ensure the provision of the best medical care.

On the other hand, hundreds of passengers travelling to Gilgit Baltistan were stranded in Bisham, Kohistan and other areas due to the closure of the Karakoram Highway.

Muhammad Didar, a hotel owner in Bisham, told Dawn.com that he had provided free accommodation to stranded passengers, including women and children.

Protests were also held in Chilas and Hunza against the incident. The demonstrators demanded immediate action and the arrest of the culprits.

Anti-state elements won’t be allowed to sabotage peace in GB: PM

Meanwhile, in a statement, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar affirmed that anti-state elements would not be allowed to sabotage peace in GB.

According to state-run Radio Pakistan, the premier condemned the incident. He said the war against terrorism would continue till the complete elimination of terrorism in the country.

He expressed deep grief over the martyrdom of innocent citizens in the incident and prayed for the patience of the bereaved families.

PM Kakar added that targeting unarmed civilians was proof of the terrorists’ cowardice.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti on Sunday also strongly condemned the firing incident.

“Targeting civilians is a cowardly act,” the minister said in his message, adding that anti-national elements were trying to sabotage GB’s peace.

“However, such cowardly acts boost the morale of our valiant forces to fight terrorism with more vigour and bravery.”

Bugti added that the country’s enemies wanted to destroy the peace of a peaceful area such as GB but they would fail.

He said the sacrifices of the nation in the war against terrorism would not go in vain.


Additional input from APP.

Opinion

Editorial

Time for dialogue
Updated 24 Jun, 2024

Time for dialogue

If the PML-N and PTI remain mired in mutual acrimony, an ever-widening gap will continue to allow non-political forces to assert themselves.
Property taxes
24 Jun, 2024

Property taxes

ACCORDING to reports in the local media, along with the higher taxes imposed on real estate in the recent budget, ...
Fierce heat
24 Jun, 2024

Fierce heat

CLIMATE change is unfolding as predicted by experts: savage heat, melting glaciers, extreme rainfall, drought, ...
China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...