Desperadoes attack Islamic university in capital: Three girls among six killed
Islamabad, Oct 21: Three girls were among six people killed on Tuesday in twin suicide attacks inside the International Islamic University, Islamabad. Two blocks were severely damaged.
This is the first time that militants have targeted women and a prestigious Islamic educational institution.
The blasts took place in quick succession in segregated blocks for girls and boys in the university's campus in the capital's H-10 sector.
A bomber barged into the women-only facility despite fierce resistance put up by a local worker, blowing himself up at the entrance of the girls' cafeteria.
The other bomber detonated his explosives-laden jacket on the first floor of the Imam Abu Hanifa block.
A string of attacks have rocked Peshawar, Swat, Rawalpindi, Lahore, and Islamabad since Oct 5, killing more than 250 people. The bombings have made October one of the bloodiest months since the beginning of the terrorist attacks.
No one has so far claimed responsibility for the strikes.
The incident took place amid reports about threats to educational institutions, some of which decided to close their facilities for a few days. However, officials of the Islamic University said they were not aware of any direct threat.
"We were hearing that some schools were being closed down, but we never received any specific threat," an outraged Prof Parveen Tariq Agha, the in-charge of the women's wing said.
She rejected suggestion of a SECURITY personnel guard the main entrance to the university after the twin suicide attacks
security lapse and said the university's premises were properly secured. But, she said, no one could have guessed that a suicide bomber would target girls in this manner.
Other teachers were equally outraged.
"This is a cowardly act," another faculty member said. "Those who target students, particularly women, cannot even be considered human beings," she said.
The new campus of the International Islamic university is spread over several acres and houses over 17,000 students, including 6,000 women. There are 2,000 foreign students from 45 countries, but mostly from China and African countries.
Sources said that security and intelligence agencies had information that terrorists would strike a university on Tuesday.
The police said one of the attackers, who was carrying five to seven kilograms of explosives, blew himself outside the office of the chairman of the Sharia Department, killing two people and creating a hole in the office wall and cracking adjacent walls. Eyewitnesses said that shards of glass and body parts lay scattered in the corridor. Nearby rooms, including a conference room and classes, were damaged by the blast.
The other suicide bomber, they said, struck the girl's cafeteria after 3pm.
Pellets mixed with the explosives also damaged a large area, perforating roofs and walls. Investigators said they had found skin attached to a forehead and an ear, which they believed were of one of the attackers.
The other attacker, wearing a vest containing five to eight kilograms of explosives, had disguised himself as a woman and was wearing a colourful shawl. He was intercepted by a worker identified as Pervez Masih when he tried to enter the girls' cafeteria.
It is believed had Mr Masih not stopped the suicide bomber, the death toll would have been higher because about 50 students were having lunch at that time.
A leg believed to be that of the suicide bomber was found in the cafeteria. There was some confusion about the gender of the suicide bomber. Some students said they had spotted a 'woman' acting suspiciously near the cafeteria, but there was no official confirmation.
Shortly after the blast, the area was cordoned off as teams of police, intelligence agencies, bomb disposal squad, civil defence, and doctors arrived at the scene.
Rescue workers said they had removed 37 injured people to nearby hospitals, where two of the injured woman students died. Their colleagues identified them only as Hina and Seher.
A 21-year-old suspect, sporting a light beard and wearing white shalwar kamiz, was arrested from the cafeteria while filming the devastation under the nose of the security personnel.
The man, believed to be an accomplice of the suicide bombers, told police that he lived in a nearby slum. But he had no answer when asked why he was making the video.
Another suspect, said to be in his 20s, was also arrested near the Imam Abu Hanifa Block. He is said to be a resident of Sargodha.
The police said that both of them had failed to come up with convincing explanations about their presence at the scene.
Three other suspects were picked up from a slum in I-11 sector.
Investigators said that the chairman of the Imam Abu Hanifa Block was the attackers' prime target because he was "known for his liberal views", but he was not present in his office at that time.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik faced humiliation for the second time in a week when students compelled him to leave the campus with a hail of stones.
The minister was accompanied by senior officials of the interior ministry and local administration. Dawn
IIUI closed for four days
Islamabad: The administration of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has announced that the university would remain closed for four days to mourn victims of Tuesday terrorist blasts. IIUI Rector Prof Fateh Muhammad Malik, President Dr Anwar Hussain Siddiqui, Vice Presidents Dr Zafar Ishaq Ansari and Parveen Qadir Agha, faculty members, students and staff have expressed grief over the tragedy.
The university administration lauded heroic role of two IIUI security guards who gave their lives to protect others'. The officials visited PIMS, NESCOM and KRL Hospitals to inquire after the wounded and assured them of full assistance. Prof Malik and Dr Siddiqui both have clarified that the university had taken all possible protective measures. The campus was protected by security guards and all visitors were thoroughly checked by metal detectors, they said.
Students vacate IIUI hostels in protest
Islamabad: International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) students on Tuesday left hostels in protest against lack of security arrangements in and around the university.
Students, both male and female, expressed concern over security arrangements on campus before leaving hostels. On the other hand, the administration has announced that the university will remain closed for four days and the students would be informed of the date when it will open.
IIUI Vice President Perveen Qadir Agha said that there were no terror threats to the university which was why the campus remained open for academic activities. "Police are not allowed on campus as IIUI have its own security officials deputed at different places including entry gates," she said.
Meanwhile, law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) on Tuesday put security on high alert in Rawalpindi and Islamabad after two suicide blasts at International Islamic University Islamabad.
A senior police official said that after the suicide blasts, the capital police further increased security across the city, especially around sensitive buildings.
He said the number of police constables deployed at markets had also been increased and they had strictly been directed to keep a close watch on suspicious people and vehicles. He said the number of police deployed at entry and exit points of the capital had been increased so that all vehicles were checked properly.
First terror strike on educational institution in Capital
Rawalpindi/Islamabad: Residents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Tuesday faced yet another fearful day due to terrorist strikes at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), leaving five dead and 29 injured. It is the first ever terrorist attack on an educational institution in the capital.
After the suicide attacks, panic permeated the area and questions on performance of security agencies began to pop up, putting a damper all the talk about high or red alert sort of things.
Nowadays, the twin cities are a scene of a military zone, pickets dotting all roads and personnel of law enforcement agencies carting scores of people to interrogation cells on suspicions of terrorism. Nonetheless, the sound of the blasts shattered the sense of security, the air smelling of explosives.
The news of the attacks spread like a jungle fire forcing shopkeepers at G-10, I-9 and I-10 markets to close down. Even industrial units in Industrial Area, I-9 and I-10, came to a halt and labourers were told to keep an eye on suspected persons.
Banks shut down in G-10, F-10, I-10, I-9 and entry to fruit and vegetable market was blocked by guards. Due to threats to Metro, a road parallel to it was also blocked.
Mostly madly, parents rushed to university to take their children back. People said they had no faith in police performance and questioned how they could survive at a time when terrorists were openly wandering among them.
Sardar Riaz, of 1-10, said suicide attackers could hit any place if they could enter the town. "Why the government has not devised a strategy to defeat terrorists as thousands of people have been killed in suicide attacks in the country," he said.
Syed Zahir Shah, of G-10, said when the police knew that some suicide attackers had entered Rawalpindi and Islamabad, why they were not arresting them. He said the police had established check posts on each and every road to such an extent that they created a fear among the residents but they failed to keep a check on terrorists.
Mrs Salman Ahmed, of Westridge, said she lived in a state of fear after the government closed down educational institutions. "We are confined in our home and terrorists move freely," she said.
Muhammad Salamat, of Chaklala Scheme-111, said the government should improve police performance and blocking roads would not do. He said the police had to improve policing instead of inconveniencing citizens by blocking roads.
It was the third terrorist attack in October in the twin cities. On October 20, the terrorists tried to enter GHQ. On October 5, a suicide bomber blew himself up at World Food Programme offices, killing at least five people including a foreigner and injuring about eight others. Daily Times
Students express resolve to fight terrorism
Islamabad: Lauding the decision of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) for not closing its institutions, the students said they would not succumbed to terrorists' threats who wanted to destabilise society. The students of various institutions have expressed resolve to join their hands against terrorists.
Schools located in cantonments in various parts of the country and most of the private schools were closed due to threats posed by present security environment in the country.
However, Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) decided to continue to hold classes in schools and colleges under its control.
"We must fight against the scourge of terrorism with unity instead of abandoning the studies," said Zunara Khalid a student of local school.
"Terrorists want suspension of educational activities and we must not serve their purpose by creating harassment among the parents and children," she said.
Another student, Ali said terrorists wanted to keep the students away from studies so that the country could not progress. Educated youth can play its due role to make them fail in their nefarious designs.
Closure of educational institutions will have psychological impact on the minds of the children, and will create a sense of insecurity, another student said. The government is playing its role for eradicating the terrorist activities, but civil society and especially the educational institutions should join hands with them, he added.
Principal of Islamabad College for Management and Commerce (ICMC) Amir Rizwan appreciated the decision of FDE not to close the educational institutions. The holidays will affect the study routine of the students and create a sense of insecurity. Especially, college students who have to cover their syllabus in a limited time period will be disturbed.
Rizwan said, "the situation is normal as far as FDE institutes are concerned. My own child is going to school without any fear." However, an official of Roots School System said majority of private institutions in twin cities and federal government schools in cantonment areas had been closed for a week. So, the management of Roots School System also closed all its branches for a week.
She said it was important to take precautionary measures in such situations. The school will reopen next Monday (October 26). app
All schools, colleges closed nationwide
Islamabad/Lahore: The provincial governments on Tuesday ordered the closure of government and private educational institutions across the country following an attack on the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) in which six people, including three female students, were killed and 29 others injured.
The Sindh Education Department announced the closure of all government and private schools in the province until October 25 (Sunday), adding universities would remain closed on October 21 (Wednesday) only. The NWFP and Balochistan governments have also announced the closure of all education institutions until Sunday. Educational institutions in the federal capital had already been shut down until October 25.
Unwanted break: In Punjab, a private TV channel reported all government and private education institutions would remain closed until further orders. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told the channel all education institutions would reopen once the security situation improved.
The decision to shut down schools and colleges nationwide was prompted by the twin suicide bombings at the IIUI on Tuesday. The first blast targeted the cafeteria adjacent to a girls' hostel around 2:10pm, while the second one targeted the Sharia and Law Department building.
Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner Aamir Ali Ahmad said that a general notice of caution had earlier been issued to the university administration in light of the security situation.
Condemning the blasts, the US embassy in Islamabad said the "vicious attack ... reveals yet again the cruel and inhuman nature of the terrorists operating against Pakistan and its people", AFP reported. In separate statements, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani also condemned the blast and expressed their grief over the death of students, APP reported. daily times
A tragedy beyond description
Islamabad: Students of the Women's Campus of International Islamic University (IIU) in Sector H-10 had a harrowing experience on Tuesday when dastardly terrorists hit them with full force, not once but twice, as if with a vengeance.
Who knew that the students who went to the university to study as usual would be carried back home dead or rushed to the hospital in critical condition? The attack on the university, where Shariah is being taught, speaks volumes about the character of terrorists. That innocent girls were made the target is the most despicable factor in this war of terror. The university has separate campuses for boys and girls. Why should one target such a university? This is tragic beyond description, to say the least.
Schools and colleges in Rawalpindi and Islamabad have already been closed for a week and now it is the turn of universities to review the situation and take a suitable decision.
One of the senior faculty members of IIU, on condition of anonymity, said that at the time of the blast, mostly girls, who are day scholars or those who have classes of Shariah, Law and Management Sciences, stayed back in the university. The blast took place at around 3:15 p.m. Most students leave the campus between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. "There would have been more casualties if the blast occurred at around 1:30 p.m. which is the peak hour for lunch.
Another senior faculty member said that men are not allowed to enter the women's campus as well as the cafeteria, which is located opposite to the main gate of the university. Each and every student is checked for his or her identity before entering the building. Even female and male faculty members are checked thoroughly. The suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the cafeteria.
IIU Vice President Parveen Qadir Agha said that they had no security threat whatsoever. She said that they had never imagined that the university would become a target for such an unfortunate incident. "It is a peaceful university with thousands of students from 45 countries. Our security guard stopped the suicide bomber at the entrance but he blew himself up," she said.
She said: "We had already put barriers and started checking IDs of students and faculty members as a precautionary measure. The hostels will remain open but the university will remain closed for four days. Classes will resume from Monday," she said.
IIU bomb blasts widely condemned
Islamabad: The twin bomb blasts in the campus of Islamic International University here on Tuesday have been widely condemned.
Several ministers, government officials and political leaders have strongly denounced the bomb blasts and expressed their deep sorrow and grief at the loss of precious lives.
Those who condemned the blasts are; Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Syed Sumsam Ali Shah Bukhari, Minister for Defence Chaudhary Ahmad Mukhtar and Minister for Defence Production Abdul Qayum Khan Jatoi, Minister for Communications Arbab Alamgir Khan Khalil, Federal Minister for Industries and Production, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Minister for Housing and Works Rehmatullah Kakar, Federal Minister for Population Welfare, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Farzana Raja, President of PML-Q Chauhdry Shujat Hussain, Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed, and Secretary Finance Imtyaz Ranjha.
In their separate messages they said terrorists are indulging in senseless violence and these acts will not go unpunished.
They said the inhuman activities of terrorists would reinforce their resolve to fight terrorism with more determination. They said the government was committed to root out terrorism from the country.
Condemning the attack, the ministers said that terrorists have no religion and were the enemy of Islam and humanity.
They said the terrorists wanted to destabilise the country and create panic among the masses but every effort would be made to defeat these evil forces. The news