At least nine people have been killed and 25 others injured in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir after terrorists opened fire on a passenger bus in Gilgit Baltistan on Saturday, according to officials. The bus was travelling from Gilgit-Baltistan to Rawalpindi when it came under fire and suffered an accident after colliding with a truck, reported Dawn.
"An unfortunate incident occurred in which a cowardly act was done, targeting a bus which set off from Gahkuch in Ghizer," said Diamer DC Captain (retd) Arif Ahmad. He further informed that five bodies had been identified while one more person succumbed to his injuries. Two Pakistani Army soldiers were among the deceased.
Diamer Superintendent of Police (SP) Sardar Shehryar said that police officers responded quickly at the scene by moving the deceased and the injured, while the truck was set on fire and its driver was killed in the attack. "The rest of the cars there were secured and moved from there in the form of a convoy,” he said.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan condemned the 'cowardly act of terrorism' and said that a special team was formed for the investigation of the incident and a thorough inquiry was being conducted.
“The government will ensure that the terrorists involved in the attack are given the appropriate punishment and brought to justice. They will be apprehended and kept in custody according to the law, and strict punishment will be given. The government will utilise all its resources to apprehend the criminals," he said.
He also asserted that the regional government was taking every possible step to establish peace in the region and “no one would be allowed to sabotage” it, despite a visible uptick in terror activities in the region.
Terrorism in Pakistan
Amid an increasing spree of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have become the prime targets of such terror activities since the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) ended its ceasefire with the government last year.
There were 99 attacks across the country in September this year, the highest in any single month since 2014, according to data by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). These attacks have resulted in 112 deaths and 87 injuries, mostly targeting security forces personnel and civilians.
In September, data compiled by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies said the number of terrorist attacks in August was the highest tally for monthly strikes in almost nine years. In the third quarter of 2023, some 445 people lost their lives and 440 suffered injuries from as many as 190 terror attacks and counter-terror operations.