Pakistan says too early to say who attacked varsity

Islamabad, Jan 21 (IANS) Pakistani authorities on Thursday said it was too early to draw conclusions about who was behind sickening violence at the Bacha Khan University in northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

“It is premature to draw any conclusion as to who may be behind the Charsada University attack before investigations are complete,” Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said here.

“Initial investigations reveal that attackers were in contact with their handlers reportedly operating from Afghanistan,” Khalilullah said during the weekly briefing here in Islamabad.

Islamabad was likely to renew its demand from Kabul to eliminate Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s sanctuaries from Afghan soil, he added.

Following the attack on the state-run university, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director general Lt Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said on Wednesday the Bacha Khan University attackers were in touch with their handlers in Afghanistan during the assault.

“The attackers were in touch with a number from Afghanistan,” the chief military spokesperson told a news briefing in Peshawar.

He said the SIM cards used in the phones were of Afghan origin. He added that a mobile phone recovered from one of the attackers was receiving calls even after he had been killed.

Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif called Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and shared investigation details of the attack with him, Bajwa said.

Asim Bajwa said Gen Sharif also shared these details with Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and commander of Resolute Support Mission and US Forces in Afghanistan Gen John Campbell.

He said investigation on the Charsadda university attack revealed it was “being controlled from a location in Afghanistan through an Afghan cell phone by a TTP operative”.

Four terrorists, armed with sub-machine guns, pistols and hand grenades, launched the attack around 8.45 a.m. when the campus was enveloped in thick morning fog.

According to eyewitnesses and officials, the terrorists scaled the rear wall of the campus and entered the guest house of the vice chancellor.

At least 21 people, mostly students, were killed and dozens injured in the brazen attack at the university, claimed by splinter group of TTP, though the fugitive leadership of the umbrella group denied involvement.

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