01/21/2016, 13.07
PAKISTAN
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Charsadda massacre: 21 dead, vigils in Quetta and Karachi

People take to the streets to demand more security after the latest massacre at Bacha Khan University. The victims include 17 students, one professor and three support staff. A Taliban spokesman denies responsibility, claiming that the attack is "against Sharia". There is a symbolic value attached to Bacha Khan University, which is named after a supporter of non-violence.

Charsadda (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Various groups held prayer vigils and torchlight processions in protest after yet another massacre, that at Bacha Khan University, in Charsadda, with at least 21 killed.

Hundreds of people gathered in Quetta (scene of another attack a few days ago) and Karachi, demanding the government for more security.

Early yesterday, gunmen entered Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, north-western Pakistan, and killed a professor, two gardeners, one caretaker and 17 students. Most of the victims were shot dead at a hostel for male students. Four attackers were also killed.

Charsadda is located 50 km north of Peshawar, where the Taliban killed more than 130 students at a military school in December 2014.

The mastermind of the APS Peshawar attack, Umar Mansoor, of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Geedar group claimed responsibility for the bloody attack through a post on his Facebook page.

However, a spokesperson for the TTP, Mohammad Khorasani, issued a conflicting statement shortly after Mansoor's claim, in which he condemned the attack, terming it "against Sharia". Khorasani also warned that those "using the name of TTP will be brought to justice".

Pakistani authorities say they gathered information from the attackers’ mobile phones to identify where they came from and who sent them.

"The terrorists were continuously conversing on their mobile phones, two of which we have recovered," Lt Military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said, adding that the information was "sensitive" and would be shared with the public later. He added that the terrorists targets that symbolise progress.

In fact, there is great symbolic value attached to Bacha Khan University, which is named after Khān Abdul Ghaffār Khān (1890-1988), an ethnic Pashtun, and n independence activist. Nicknamed Bāchā Khān (lit. king of chiefs), he preached non-violent resistance.

At the time of the attack, a poetry reading in his honour was taking place on campus.

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