Charsadda (Pakistan), Jan 21: Pakistan observed a day of mourning today after the bloodbath in Bacha Khan University in this northwestern town where militants killed 21 people, mostly students, before being eliminated by the army.
The national flag was flying on half-mast at all official buildings and all national ceremonies were cancelled.
Special prayers were held at several places for the victims. The provincial Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has declared three-day mourning starting today.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that his government was determined to wipe out the menace of terrorism from Pakistan. "The terrorists will see a ruthless response by the state.
Cowards and their financiers will see our national resolve to eliminate terror from the country. The entire nation is united and one against terrorism," Sharif stressed.
The Prime Minister has directed all security agencies to hunt down the patrons and financiers of Charsada terror attack, a Prime Minister's Office statement said.
Heavily-armed militants yesterday stormed the Bacha Khan University named after iconic leader Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan alias Baacha Khan and opened fire on students and teachers.
There were over 3,000 students inside the university along with an additional 600 guests who had arrived to attend a poetic symposium to mark the death anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan who died on January 20, 1988.
Omar Mansoor, Peshawar school attack mastermind and a commander of the Hakimullah Mehsud faction of the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistani, claimed responsibility for the assault. The death toll today rose to 21 as one more student Ayaz succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Peshawar.
The attack that killed 19 students, a professor and a staffer was a grim reminder of an assault on an army-run school in Peshawar on December, 2014 that killed 150 people, mostly students. Meanwhile, police today registered an FIR against four unidentified attackers who were killed by security forces.
The case was registered at Serdheri police station under the Anti- Terrorism Act on behalf of the Counter-Terrorism Department. At least 17 suspects, including five facilitators of the varsity attack, were arrested during search operations today in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, sources said.
The special teams conducted operations in Peshawar, Dara Adamkhel, Khyber Agency and other areas to arrest the terrorists involved in the university attack. The suspects were shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation. Separately, the district police today launched search operation in surrounding areas of the university and arrested more than 100 suspects.