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Main facilitator of Bacha Khan varsity attack held: report

Anxiety writ large on their faces, family members of students stand outside the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda town, some 35 km outside the city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on January 20 when gunmen stormed the varsity. Waheed Ali alias Arshad, the main facilitator of the gruesome attack that killed 21 people -- mostly students -- was arrested in Nowshera last week.

Anxiety writ large on their faces, family members of students stand outside the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda town, some 35 km outside the city of Peshawar, Pakistan, on January 20 when gunmen stormed the varsity. Waheed Ali alias Arshad, the main facilitator of the gruesome attack that killed 21 people -- mostly students -- was arrested in Nowshera last week.  

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Waheed Ali alias Arshad, categorised as ‘Terrorist A’, was arrested in Nowshera last week while trying to slip across the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities have arrested the main facilitator of the gruesome attack on the Bacha Khan University that killed 21 people, mostly students, while he was trying to slip across the border to Afghanistan, a media report said on Wednesday.

Waheed Ali alias Arshad, categorised as ‘Terrorist A’, was arrested in Nowshera last week by intelligence agencies, the Dawn reported, citing “credible” sources.

“He had made arrangements to flee to Afghanistan and hired a taxi to take him to the Pak-Afghan border at Torkham. Had there been any further delay, the man would have slipped away,” they said.

“He had shaved his beard and had packed up. His taxi was intercepted and he was picked up after positive identification,” said the sources, requesting anonymity.

In his early 30s

The alleged facilitator, in his early 30s, said in his initial statement that the planning of the attack on the university was going on for six months in Achin district of Afghanistan, the base of militant commander Omar Mansoor.

Mansoor, mastermind of the Peshawar school carnage and a commander of the Hakimullah Mehsud faction of the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan (TTP), had claimed responsibility for the January 20 assault on Bacha Khan University.

Rs. 1 million to execute the act

Waheed said Mansoor had provided him Rs. 1 million to execute the plan and procure arms and ammunition.

Waheed is also reported to have said that he secretly made videos of the Punjab Regiment Centre and a police station in Mardan as possible targets and took the footages in a memory chip to Mansoor, but the plans were dropped because of heavy security in the two places.

The mastermind and planners, Waheed said, later opted for Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan and prepared a group of four militants to carry out the attack. He said he was the one who had made the video of the four attackers with Mansoor and that was the reason why the Abdul Wali Khan University was mentioned in the video, according to the report. The plan to attack that university was also cancelled because of better security arrangements and the mastermind was informed about the new target in Charsadda.

BKU a soft target

Meanwhile, addressing a meeting on Tuesday night, Deputy Inspector General of Police Mardan Division Saeed Wazir also said that militants initially had planned storming Wali Khan University in Mardan but later selected BKU deeming it a soft target and to increase causalities.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 10:34:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/main-facilitator-of-bacha-khan-varsity-attack-held-report/article8188610.ece

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