CHARSADDA: Education activities at Bacha Khan University (BKU) in in the northwestern town of Charsadda have resumed today (Monday), five days after the university was attacked by armed militants who killed 21 people and injured more than 30.
A condolence reference was organized at the university where students expressed their determination against terrorism and also offered special prayers for the victims.
Parents of the victims, university staff and a large number of students were present at the university.
Meanwhile, strict security arrangements were in place.
Last Wednesday, twenty-one people were martyred in an attack on the university campus in Pakistan’s tribal northwest which was claimed by a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), barely a year after a massacre at a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 people.
Security forces killed all four attackers during the operation.
Security forces said the young attackers had hidden in fields surrounding the Bacha Khan University taking advantage of fog that severely restricted visibility to enter the premises unnoticed.
The attack spurred widespread outrage across Pakistan, with a candlelight vigil for the victims held in different areas of the country.
Earlier on Saturday, Army spokesperson DG ISPR Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said the four gunmen who attacked a university were trained in Afghanistan and the assault was controlled by a TTP militant from a location inside Afghanistan.
In a briefing to reporters from the city of Peshawar, Bajwa said the militants received training in Afghanistan and crossed over into Pakistan from the Torkham border between the two countries.
He said the attack was masterminded by Umar Mansoor, a TTP militant based in Afghanistan who is also held responsible for the December 2014 massacre of 134 children in the city of Peshawar – the deadliest militant attack in Pakistan’s history.
A deputy of Mansoor helped the attackers reach the Torkham border from where they crossed over into Pakistan, the spokesman said.
The army’s claims once more highlight the need for improved relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan which would prevent militants from carrying out cross-border terrorism which have undermined peace efforts in the region.
Pakistani officials say the TTP chief known as Mullah Fazlullah has been orchestrating raids on Pakistan from Afghanistan, where he fled several years ago after a Pakistani army offensive against his stronghold in the Swat Valley.
Afghan officials see Pakistan’s suggestion that Afghans are supporting cross-border attacks as an attempt to distract attention from what they say is Pakistan’s long history of supporting Afghanistan’s Taliban movement and other insurgent factions.
“The attackers were prepared in Afghanistan,” army spokesman Bajwa said. “We have come to the conclusion that terrorism cannot be fought when there are accomplices and facilitators.”
Providing details of the planning of the attack, the military spokesman said the gunmen used public transportation from the Afghan border to reach Mardan city, about 30 kilometres from Charsadda, where they were received by four Pakistani men, now in army custody.
“After entering Mardan, the terrorists were received by Adil and Riaz,” Bajwa said, identifying two of the suspected accomplices who he said put up the militants in two houses in Mardan.
“Adil is a labourer and just a few days ago he did some masonry work in the university, and made a map of the university which he shared with the militants,” said the military spokesman.
“Adil is the one who helped the attackers carry out reconnaissance of the area around the university.”
Another accomplice, identified as Noorullah, bought an auto-rickshaw and transported the attackers from Mardan to the sugarcane fields next to Bacha Khan University, which they crossed through to finally scale the walls of the campus and carry out the assault.
On Friday, Umar Mansoor, the mastermind identified by the Pakistan military, released video footage of the fighters he said carried out Wednesday’s deadly assault and vowed more attacks on schools and universities in the future.
Pakistan has killed and arrested hundreds of suspected militants under a major crackdown launched after the December 2014 school attack, which is seen as having hardened Pakistan’s resolve to fight militants along its border with Afghanistan.