PESHAWAR  - The Peshawar University campus turned into a battlefield on Friday when activists of Pakhtun Students Federation (PSF) and Islami Jamiat Tulba (IJT) exchanged firing with supporters of Valentine’s Day . As a result of the exchange of firing, five students received injuries.
Sources said the incident happened when IJT activists stopped students from participating in Valentine’s Day celebrations and urged them to mark Haya Day instead.
As the barbs fly from the heated exchanges of arguments between the rival students groups, IJT and PSF activists opened firing on each other and as a result several students got injuries.
Later activists of IJT set on fire the rooms of PSF activists in the university hostels.
On the other hand, activists of PSF staged a protest demonstration against Islami Jamiat Tulba, holding them responsible for bulldozing the peaceful environment of the university .
Talking to The Nation, Pakhtun Students Federation Chairman Muqarab Khan Buneri said the incident occurred in Islamia College area when armed activists of IJT forcibly stopped couples from celebrating Valentine’s Day . He said when the students did not heed to their warning, they beat them with sticks. The incident later escalated to exchange of firing between the two groups.
He said activists of IJT also torched several rooms of the students in their hostels and damaged their educational documents and other credentials.
Islami Jamiat Tulba University Peshawar Nazim Nawaz told this scribe that the firing was initiated by the PSF, which resulted in injuries to several students.
He said that students of Islami Jamiat Tulba were marking Haya Day against Valentine’s Day which was disrupted by PSF supporters .
Meanwhile, the Pakhtun Students Organisation blamed the government for supporting IJT. They demanded of the government to break its silence and arrest the IJT activists.
According to AFP, students from the left-leaning Pakhtun Students Federation were marking the international day of romance with red balloons and cake when they were attacked by students from the rival IJT.
Dozens of students threw rocks in the scuffle, leading to gunshots being fired by both sides and three rooms in a student dormitory being set on fire.
“The situation is under control now. Three students were wounded in the clash ,” local police official Fazalur Rehman told AFP, adding that police were searching for the students involved to arrest them.
One student had a gunshot wound to his hand, he added.
Valentine’s Day is increasingly popular among younger Pakistanis, many of whom have taken up the custom of giving cards, chocolates and gifts to their sweethearts to celebrate the occasion.
But Pakistan remains a deeply traditional Muslim society where many disapprove of Valentine’s Day as a Western import.
At least eight passengers were injured when unknown persons hurled a hand grenade on a passengers’ coach near Sephen checkpost area, jurisdiction Badhabera Police Station.
Police sources said apparently the target of the grenade attack was a police mobile but miscreants missed it and the grenade hit the vehicle, which was coming to Peshawar from Kohat area. They said that the incident resulted in injuries to eight persons who were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital.
The injured were identified as Noor Badshah son of Ahmad Shah, Shabina wife Khizar Bacha, Salman son of Meer Aslam, Janas son of Ajam Khan and Zuber son of Janas Khan. Police rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. They also launched search operation but the militants had made their escape successfully.
Staff Reporter from Swabi adds: A policeman was killed while an SHO and Sub Inspector were seriously wounded when their vehicle came under an attack near Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate here on Friday.
The incident was occurred in the jurisdiction of Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate Police Station and both the injured and killed official had been on their duty there. “The wounded SHO had taken charge just two days back and is the brother of DPS Chota Lahor, Izhar Shah Khan,” said a policeman.
They had gone to Malik Abad village on patrolling, returning in a car bear registration No. RNN 71. When they reached near to Malik Abad graveyard, they suddenly came under fire from the bushes of the graveyard. “They were not in position to retaliate and the attackers had disappeared soon after the incident in area,” said an official.
As a result, the three officials were seriously injured. They were immediately taken to district headquarter hospital and from there they were referred to Lady Reading hospital, Peshawar within no time.
The injured cop Wisal Khan who was hailed from Rustam (Mardan) succumbed to injuries in hospital. SHO Riaz Khan belongs to Mardan and SI Ziaullah hails from Adina village of the district. “Riaz Khan was shot in head and legs,” said an official who witnessed the injured.
Funeral of the victim cop was held in Shah Mansoor Police Line. It was attended by district police officer, Sajjad Khan and other officials.
Meanwhile an FIR has been registered in Gadoon Estate Police Station against the accused and police started investigations.
Police officials recalled that a number of dreadful incidents had occurred here in the district during last few days.
They said that EPI Centre was blown up with explosive on Jan 19, money changer Shaukat Ali of Karnal Sher Kili was killed and Rs3.8 million snatched from him, seven shops of goldsmiths were looted in police uniform on Feb 7, Abdullah a student of class seventh of Anbar village was abducted on Feb 8, Ejaz Khan, former councillor of Maini UC was killed by militants on the following day and Bakhtiar Ali, head constable of elite force was killed on Feb 10.
They accepted that the suspected militants had destabilised the district under a well-planned strategy. They said that the police had taken numerous steps and they repulsed the militants’ attacks on police station in tehsil Razaar.