Swat Valley school bus attack kills one after 10th anniversary of Malala shooting

Shots fired a day after Pakistan province marked gun attack on education activist

A school bus was fired upon in Swat Valley, Pakistan, on Monday, killing the driver. Tariq Ullah for The National
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One person was killed on Monday when a van taking children to school was attacked in Swat Valley, Pakistan, the day after the area marked 10 years since education activist Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban.

Police said the driver was the target. Charbagh police station chief Wahid Khan told The National that the van was fired upon while carrying a dozen pupils.

"It was a private school van hired for the students of two private schools," he said. "It was attacked with 12 students on board."

Police said the gunman, riding on a motorbike, had fired at the front seat, killing the driver and wounding a pupil. He then fled, leaving his jumper and a bike helmet behind.

Rescue-1122 representative Shafiqa Gul told The National, whose team responded to the attack, said: "The driver was dead while the injured student was shifted to the nearby local hospital where he is being treated."

The incident took place the day after the 10th anniversary of the attack on Malala Yousafzai, a noble laureate from the same district.

She was also in a school van and was returning home when she was shot in the head.

Attack sparks protest against violence

Swat has been in the grip of a spate of targeted attacks for the past two months and many residents are worried about a surge in terrorist incidents.

After Monday's shooting, the body of the driver was kept on the road as a protest and a large number of people gathered to demonstrate.

Israr Ahmad, the driver's brother, told the rally that his brother had no personal enmity with anyone and was killed for no reason.

He accused the gunman of being politically motivated.

"My brother was doing the school van duty for the last few years and he was killed because he was carrying students to get education," he said.

Police have started an investigation into Monday's incident to ascertain if it was a personal matter or related to terrorism.

The attack has not been claimed by any group.

Pupils and teachers at the Private Schools Management Association joined the protest and on Tuesday all private schools in Swat will be closed in commemoration.

Schools and educational institutions have been often been targeted by terrorist groups opposed to what or whom they teach.

On December 16, 2014, an attack on a military-run school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial capital, Peshawar, killed at least 149 children.

Updated: October 10, 2022, 12:40 PM