Unidentified motorcyclists opened fire near Government Girls Primary School, Lahor in Swabi on Thursday afternoon, causing panic among the residents.
The shooting occurred a few minutes before the school was scheduled to close for the day. The watchmen guarding the school shot in the air in retaliation but the assailants sped away. No casualties were reported.
According to locals, two men riding a motorcycle began shooting with a pistol near the back gate of Government Girls Primary School in Mohallah Dhok Omar in Lahor East. The gunfire caused panic among the students and people residing in the locality.
A boys primary school is located adjacent to the girls school and the guards of both schools resorted to aerial firing to deter the shooters who managed to escape.
A police contingent led by District Police Officer (DPO) Sajjad Khan arrived at the site following the incident. The area was cordoned off and a search operation was initiated.
Quoting the girls school guard, the DPO said there were two shooters. However, locals claim there were three.
Refusing to confirm if the shooting was a terrorism act, DPO Khan said “it was a routine matter.”
Police have registered a case and initiated an investigation.
Lahor town is considered the second most populated area of Swabi. It is the birthplace of Adnan Rashid, a former junior technician in the Pakistan Air Force, who was sentenced to death for attempting to murder former president General Pervez Musharraf in 2003.
However, he escaped from Bannu jail on April 15, 2012. Soon after Operation Zarb-e-Azb began in June last year, reports surfaced that Rashid had been arrested while fleeing the agency.
There has been no official confirmation of his arrest thus far.
Meanwhile, panic erupted among the residents of Asia Gate locality in the provincial capital early Thursday morning after word got around that suspects had tried to enter Al Noor Public School. However, Senior Superintendent Police Mian Saeed contradicted these reports.
Many parents rushed to the school to take their children home before the police made its statement.
Security for educational institutes across the province has been beefed up since they opened on Monday after an extended winter break.
Schools and colleges across the country had been shut down in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attack on Army Public School in the provincial capital which left 150 dead, most of them schoolchildren.
The government has instructed educational institutes to ensure fool proof security measures that include raising boundary walls to at least 8 feet, placing barbed wire on them, installing CCTV cameras and deploying armed guards at all entrance and exit points.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2015.