BY: MIAN ABRAR/HAMID KHAN WAZIR
ISLAMABAD: The deadly attack at the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) in Peshawar on Friday morning and the subsequent release of a video footage released by the TTP’s Umar Media has raised serious questions whether or not the attack was an inside job as some civilians can be seen helping the attackers make their way into various rooms and offices.
The footage shows that two persons guided the terrorists, who were in constant contact with someone and were continuously firing. One could also hear the screams of the victims of the terrorists who raised slogans of ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ several times during the attack. However, one guide was wearing a waistcoat while the other two were seen wearing jackets and Shalwar Qameez.
None of the guides was seen carrying any weapon and neither were they among those killed by law enforcers. Another interesting fact is that the law enforcing agencies have claimed that they had found three Burqas from the crime scene. They also claimed to have found a rickshaw which was allegedly used by the terrorists who entered the hostel wearing Burqas.
However, there is no mention of the fourth associate of the terrorists who should have been driving the rickshaw.
A police officer investigating the incident said that it cannot be ruled out that a fourth accomplice of the attackers might have fled. He added that an injured person was being interrogated to ascertain if he was an accomplice of the terrorists who attacked ATI.
When contacted, defence analyst Lt General (retd) Amjad Shoaib said that apparently, it seems as if there were some sympathisers of the terrorists who were seen guiding them. “We can’t say for sure whether or not it was an inside job. But yes, there are some people in the footage seen guiding the terrorists,” he said but did not agree with the notion that the terrorists were carrying weapons fixed with cameras.
He also said that the recording reflected that either the terrorist was himself carrying the camera, or he might have been accompanied by another accomplice carrying it. “But the camera was not fixed on the gun carried by the terrorist. If the camera was fixed at the gun, the footage should also show the victims of the firing. One can hear the gunshots and slogans but not the victims,” he added.
He also said that the security officials also did not find any camera at the crime scene which also suggested that the person recording the attack had fled successfully. “You have raised valid points. The security agencies must investigate the matter as if some accomplices of the terrorists may have fled,” he added.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has registered an FIR of the deadly ATI attack against unknown persons on the complaint of Station House Officer (SHO) Ahmadullah Khan on charges including terrorism, murder, attempted murder and encounter.
Police have also extended the investigation and sent body parts of the militants involved in the attack for forensic tests. According to the FIR, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, three burqa-clad terrorists reached the main gate of the institute in a rickshaw (vehicle number: BG-5769). “The terrorists first targeted and shot dead Abdul Hameed, the watchman of the institute, at the main gate and entered the building,” the FIR read.
Soon after the attack began, police and army personnel reached the site and engaged the terrorists, the report said, adding that the exchange of fire between the terrorists and police lasted for about two hours. The FIR said that police and security forces cleared the building by shooting the terrorists dead and recovering their bodies from different rooms of the hostel.
It added that during the search operation of the hostel and the institute, police also recovered heavy weapons including hand grenades, three Kalashnikovs, eight magazines, pistols, suicide jackets, a huge number of bullets and other explosives along with three burqas. After registering the FIR, the CTD police have started investigating the attack and sent DNA samples from the bodies of the terrorists killed during the clean-up operation for identification.
According to the initial report, the chassis number and registration number of the rickshaw involved in the gruesome attack were forged as the attackers had placed a fake sticker in place of the original number. As per the documents, the original chassis number was NAR-79015 which was tempered to make it NAR-86455 whereas the rickshaw number is BG-5769, registered under the name of Ibrahim.