ISLAMABAD - Police on Sunday killed the mastermind behind the brazen arson attacks targeting 14 schools, mostly all-girls', in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The schools were burnt down over a period of two days in coordinated attacks in Gilgit-Baltistan's Diamer district, triggering protest by local residents who sought safety for educational institutions.
"The prime suspect believed to be responsible for the torching of 14 girls' schools over a period of two days in Gilgit-Baltistan's was killed during a search operation in the Tanger area today," Diamer Police Spokesperson Muhammad Wakeel said.
Shafiq - who has no known association with any militant or terrorist outfit, but is referred to as a 'militant' and 'militant commander' by police officials - was the prime suspect behind the brazen arson attacks targeting girls' schools in the Chilas, Darel and Tanger tehsils of Diamer district.
Gilgit-Baltistan government spokesperson Faizullah said that 10 to 12 police parties carried out raids in various parts of Diamer last night to track down those responsible for the arson attacks.
A police constable was killed and another wounded in a gun battle with armed suspects during a late night raid in Tanger yesterday. So far 18 suspects have been arrested for the torching of the schools.
Wakeel said that the militants in Tanger were attempting to flee the area but locals surrounded them.
A civilian was injured and at least three to four others were injured in exchange of fire between police and the militants during the operations, the paper said.