Outlawed terrorist group Jundallah has claimed responsibility for an attack a bus on Karakoram Highway in the Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which killed 18 people on Tuesday.
18 victims, most of them Shia pilgrims, were returning home when attack took place
Jundallah’s commander Ahmed Marwat, who contacted media persons soon after the attack, claimed responsibility for the assault.
The attack took place when gunmen opened fire on the bus which was en route to Gilgit from Rawalpindi with 39 passengers on board. The bus was owned by Mashaburum private bus service.
Seven armed men stopped two buses and a coaster. The armed men were reported to be in Army uniform. They asked the passengers to get off the bus and shot them after checking their CNICs.
Most of the victims were pilgrims who were going back to their native areas after visiting holy shrines in Iran.
A source in the district administration in Dassu told The Express Tribune that residents of Tangir’s Darkai valley, Commander Abdul Qayyum, Saddar Shariat and Burhan Shariat, sons of Gul Shahzada: Abdul Karim and Abdul Qadeem, sons of Abdul Ghafoor are suspected to be involved in the massacre.
Driver Muhammad Younus of Nagar valley, Najibullah, Suhail Ahmed are among the deceased.
“All the people on board were Shia, and at the moment it looks like they were targeted by armed men from the local Sunni community,” a senior police official had earlier told Reuters.
“Armed men hiding on both sides of the road attacked the bus,” local police chief Mohammad Ilyas said.
“Initial reports said 18 people have died and eight wounded,” he added.
Police officials said the bus came under attack in an area inhabited by two Sunni tribes about 165 km (102 miles) north of Islamabad.
The ambush happened near the town of Harban Nullah. DCO Chilas confirmed the incident.
The bodies of the deceased have been kept at Shatial hospital.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has sought an investigative report from the Inspector-General of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Section 144 has been imposed throughout Gilgit after the attack.