Bus Attack Claims 10 Lives In Chilas, Gilgit-Baltistan

A tragic attack on a passenger bus in Chilas, Gilgit-Baltistan, claimed at least 10 lives and left 25 injured.

A tragic incident unfolded on Saturday as a passenger bus was attacked by unidentified assailants on the Karakoram Highway in Chilas town, Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan, resulting in at least 10 fatalities and 25 injuries. Diamer Deputy Commissioner, Captain (retd) Arif Ahmad, described the incident as a “cowardly” act, stating that the bus, en route from Gahkuch in Ghizer, collided with a truck after coming under fire in the Hudur area of Chilas at 6:30 pm.

The victims hailed from various parts of the country, including Kohistan, Peshawar, Ghizer, Chilas, Roundu, Skardu, Mansehra, Swabi, and one or two individuals from Sindh.

Terrorists targeted the bus travelling from Gilgit to Rawalpindi, opening an indiscriminate fire around 6:30 pm in Chilas. Following the attack, the driver lost control, leading to a collision with a truck coming from the opposite direction.

The Diamer Deputy Commissioner further mentioned that two Pakistani Army soldiers lost their lives in the incident, with a member of the Special Protection Unit sustaining injuries. Diamer’s Superintendent of Police, Sardar Shehryar, highlighted that the initial responders at the scene were personnel from the Karakoram Highway (KKH) police.

The official also reported that the truck driver lost his life in the attack, and his body was subsequently transported. Other vehicles present at the scene, including those travelling to and from Dasu, were removed in a convoy. The area of the attack has been cordoned off for evidence collection. The injured, including women and children, have been admitted to Regional Headquarters Hospital Chilas.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the motive remains unclear. Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan of Gilgit-Baltistan condemned the act as terrorism, vowing a thorough investigation with the formation of a special team. He assured that those responsible would face legal consequences, with the government covering the medical expenses for the injured.

In response to the tragic incident, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khan assured support for the affected individuals, vowing that the sacrifices of the martyrs would not be in vain, and justice would be served against the perpetrators. He emphasized a commitment to maintaining peace in the region, expressing intolerance for any attempts to undermine security.

Iman Shah, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister, echoed these sentiments, underlining the government’s determination to swiftly arrest and bring justice to the culprits. PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the attack, calling for severe penalties for those responsible and extending condolences to the families of the martyrs. Chilas, located in the mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan, has seen a rise in attacks in recent months, with some claimed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Pakistan has presented a list of demands, including the surrender of former TTP leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur, in response to increased attacks in the region.