Italy hands over Peshawar school attack suspect to Pakistan

Islamabad, Oct 29 (IANS) A key suspect in the Pakistani Taliban’s deadliest attack on an army-run school was deported from Italy and handed over to the authorities in Islamabad on Thursday for questioning, officials said.

The attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar last December killed over 150 students and staffers in one of the worst, brutal terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

Usman Ghani was arrested with the help of Interpol and was repatriated to Islamabad on a private airline early on Thursday. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) took custody of the accused upon his arrival.

According to an FIA official, a suspect who was caught earlier for his involvement in the attack disclosed that Usman Ghani fled to Italy a few days after the school attack on December 16 last year.

He added that Usman Ghani belongs to Swabi district in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and was also involved in other anti-state activities.

Usman Ghani was shifted for interrogation shortly after he was handed over to the FIA at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, officials told the media.

The army spokesman, Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa, earlier said that 12 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack. They all belonged to the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Security officials said the attack was planned by Mullah Fazlullah, the TTP chief. Officials believe Fazlullah has fled to Afghanistan after a massive military operation in the Swat Valley in 2009. Afghan authorities deny the claim.

A group of Taliban suicide bombers stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar in reaction to the military operation in North Waziristan tribal region where the security forces have now taken control of most of the areas.

Around 3,000 Taliban and other militants have been killed since the operation was launched in June 2014.

–Indo-Asian New Service


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