PESHAWAR, March 5: Militants blew up a checkpoint on the suburbs of provincial metropolis and three government schools one each in Swabi and Kohat districts and Khyber tribal region on Saturday.In Peshawar a powerful bomb exploded near a police checkpoint at Shaikhan Chowk in the limits of Badhber police station, injuring five persons including two policemen. Few shops were also damaged in the explosion.
The injured policemen were identified as Fazal Rahim and Raj Wali. They were shifted by the staffers of Rescuer of 1122 to Lady Reading Hospital. The other injured included two children and a shopkeeper.
An official of Bomb Disposal Unit said that militants had planted about two kilograms explosives at a bicycle. It was a time-device, containing ball bearings, he added.
Naseem Hayat, in-charge of Shaikhan police post, told Dawn that the checkpoint was jointly manned by police and Frontier Constabulary. He added the checkpoint was set up at Shaikhan Chowk to keep vigilance on movement of suspected people and vehicles plying between Peshawar and Bara area of Khyber Agency.
He said the area was very sensitive owing to its strategic location as it was close to Bara and police had to remain alert for checking suspected elements. He said that the bicycle had been parked near the checkpoint and police personnel were the apparent target.
The police and Frontier Constabulary, he said, started search operation in the area to arrest the terrorists. The blast also damaged three shops in the surrounding area. Aziz Khan, an eyewitness, said that the worst-hit was a poultry shop.
Police said that terrorists, shifted to various localities in the settled areas owing to military operation in Bara, were involved in such attacks.
“Owing to sensitivity of the situation, traffic from the Bara-Peshawar Road has been diverted toward Batathal Road for the last two years and people have to go from Shaikhan Chowk to Sango village on foot,” officials said. In Swabi district, militants for the first time blew up a government primary school with explosive, police said.
The explosive, they said, was planted near the boundary wall of the government Primary School Kulalo Banda, Shewa that went off with a bang destroying the two-room building.
Swabi DCO Syed Abdul Jabar Shah said that the blast occurred at 3.30 am. No injury or casualty took place as there was nobody at the school at the time of blast. An official of the education department said nearly 800 primary schools in the district are without watchmen.
Panic and fear gripped the residents of the nearby houses after the blast. They said that they woke up due to blast and rushed to the site of occurrence.
The students were sent back to their homes when they reached the blown up school early in the morning, officials said, adding alternative arrangements would be made to save precious time of the students. They said that annual examination was scheduled within next few days.
DPO Mohammad Ijaz Khan visited the site and directed officials concerned to take more precautionary measures. No group claimed responsibility for the incident.
In Kohat, militants destroyed a government high school in Jawaki tribal area with time bombs while another institution was saved by the timely action of Bomb Disposal Squad.
Officials said that four rooms and administrative block of the school in Turky Ismail Khel area of Jawaki region in tribal area of Kohat was blown up late on Friday night. The building was completely flattened, they said.
The law enforcement agencies reached the site on Saturday along with the Bomb Disposal Squad which saved another government primary school by defusing eight kilograms heavy time device.
The Frontier Region of Kohat administration had registered cases and started investigations.
In Khyber tribal region, militants blew up a government school late on Friday night.
The government high school in Shalobar, Bara tehsil was completely destroyed when the explosive device planted by suspected militants inside the building went off at midnight between Friday and Saturday.
A local resident told Dawn that except a room, the rest of the building had been destroyed. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the incident. Militants had in the past one year destroyed nearly 20 schools both for boys and girls in Bara.Meanwhile, tribesmen foiled a kidnapping attempt in Sipah area after exchange of fire with kidnappers on Saturday.
Sources said that kidnappers attempted to abduct the relatives of Malak Zahir Shah, a tribal elder, when they were offering funeral of a woman relative. Malak Zahir Shah's supporters exchanged fire with the attackers, resulting in injuries to an abductor. A nephew of the tribal elder was also injured.
It was also learnt that some unidentified persons had abducted the elder brother of Zahir Shah some times ago but he was later released on payment of ransom.
The wife of the abducted man suffered heart attack when he was in captivity of the kidnappers. The wife died on Saturday and her funeral was being offered when the attempt of kidnapping was made.