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January 30, 2016

Probe body recommends removing VC, security in-charge

Top Story

January 30, 2016

Bacha Khan University attack

PESHAWAR: A high-level committee constituted to probe the terrorist attack on the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda has recommended the removal of the vice-chancellor and including the security in-charge of the varsity in the investigation, a source confided to The News on Friday.

The source said the committee comprising commissioner Peshawar, Regional Police Officer, Mardan, and Special Secretary, Higher Education Department, has submitted its report along with recommendations to the provincial government.

“The chancellor may be requested to remove the vice-chancellor of the Bacha Khan University under the relevant law. The security in-charge should be removed from service and included in the investigation. Ex-servicemen should be hired for security with a retired official as its in-charge,” were the recommendations of the three-member committee formed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on January 22 to probe the attack on the university.

The committee further recommended purchase of adequate weapons and training programmes for the security staff. “The university should hire experts to put in place a proper control room and CCTV mechanism so that immediate response is ensured in such situations,” the report said.

A copy of the report was made available to The News.The report disclosed that there were 41 weapons with the security guards of the Bacha Khan University when the attack took place. The weapons included five Kalashnikovs (AK-47s), six rifles and 30 shotguns/repeaters. The guards had 1,953 rounds with them.

“As per the list, 19 guards were supposed to be on duty but four of them were absent, while the phone record disclosed that four other guards were also missing. Almost 50 percent of the guards deployed were missing, including the security in-charge,” the report noted.

The probe committee also came to know that there was no coordination with the district administration regarding the Mushaira being held at the campus of the Bacha Khan University. The literary event was being held to observe the 28th death anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, commonly known as Bacha Khan after whom the university was named.

It may be added that four terrorists stormed the Bacha Khan University on a foggy morning on January 20 and killed at least 22 persons, mostly students, a teacher, an assistant librarian and a few low-ranking employees. Several other persons were wounded before the attackers were gunned down.

The KP government set up the high-level committee to probe the incident in the wake of the meeting of the Apex Committee, which along with governor and chief minister also includes the corps commander Peshawar. The committee recorded the statements of Vice-Chancellor Dr Fazal-ur-Rahim Marwat, Director Administration, Registrar and Security in-charge and other relevant persons.

“As head of the institution, the vice-chancellor did not give proper attention to the issue. Despite instructions of the chancellor, he did not call a meeting of the syndicate to take the decisions necessary for making security arrangements and gave additional charge of director security to a PhD teacher,” said the report of the fact-finding committee.

The report added that the vice-chancellor allowed Ashfaq Ahmad to work as security in-charge although he had no training or expertise on security.“The vice chancellor also failed to put in place a proper security mechanism despite the worst situation and advisories by the police. He bears full responsibility,” stated the committee’s report.

The committee mentioned that the security in-charge Ashfaq Ahmad had no training and had provided fake documents regarding the strength of the security guards present in the campus who were later found to be absent from duty. It noted that the security in-charge remained on leave for two years and had joined his duty only 10 days ago.

“On the day of the incident, the security in-charge was absent from duty and claimed to be delivering a letter to the police chief of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He bears full responsibility for the lapse,” the report stated.

The committee said the director administration Dr Shakeel had no expertise and was holding the office as an additional charge. He was present on the day and remained with the students in the university’s administration block.

“He kept talking to the policemen on ground and with the help of one guard protected the students from two terrorists who were on the staircase till the time police and army started the operation. Keeping in view that he is just a teacher and his conduct on the day, the committee feels that he is not responsible for the events,” stated the report.

According to the report, the registrar of the university in his statement said that he called the police time and again but they could not respond in time. The director administration also made the same complaint.

“In his supplementary statement, the director administration said that police were informed through SOS alert system and reached after one hour but refused to go ahead on the plea that it was the responsibility of Pak Army. The security guards of the university kept the terrorists engaged till the arrival of the army,” the report said.

In his statement to the committee, the vice-chancellor said he was on his way to the university when he heard about the attack after which he went straight to Police Station Nisatta and informed the cops about the attack.

The report said the vice-chancellor stated that the guards kept the attackers engaged for 40 to 50 minutes when the police and the army personnel arrived and took control of the situation.

 

 

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