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

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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 had been registered against unknown miscreants by Diamer SHO 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 had been 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 traveling 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.

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 a proof of the terrorists’ cowardice.