Kohistan bus ambush kills 18
[Dawn] Sectarian gunnies ambushed a bus on Tuesday, killing 18 Shia Moslems in a usually peaceful region of northern Pakistain that neighbours the former Taliban stronghold of Swat, officials said.
The bus was stopped, before passengers were ordered off and shot in the mountainous district of Kohistan
...a backwoods district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa distinguished by being even more rustic than is the norm among the local Pashtuns....
as it travelled from Rawalpindi to the northern city of Gilgit.
"Armed men hiding on both sides of the road attacked the bus," local police chief Mohammad Ilyas said.
"Eighteen people have died and eight maimed," he added. The ambush happened near the town of Harban, 130 miles (208 kilometres) north of the capital Islamabad.
Survivors said seven or eight gunnies stopped the bus, forced the passengers to get off and then opened fire, regional administration chief Khalid Omarzai told AFP by telephone, confirming the casualty numbers.
"It appears to be a sectarian attack," local MP Abdul Sattar Khan said.
"Its a remote area. We are getting reports that the gunnies forced people to get off the bus. They checked their papers and shot them dead," he told AFP.
The victims were Shia Moslems, he said. "It could be the outcome of the murder of two Sunni Moslems a few days ago in Gilgit. The people of the area had vowed they would take Dire Revenge™," Khan added.
Authorities were slow to confirm the motive and insisted Death Eaters are not active in the area.
Kohistan borders the Swat
...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat...
valley, where Pakistain in 2009 managed to put down a two-year Taliban insurgency.
Omarzai told AFP that he could not immediately confirm whether it was a sectarian attack, saying that the police were investigating.
President Asif Ali
President Ten Percent Zardari
... sticky-fingered husband of the late Benazir Bhutto ...
and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
... Pakistain's erstwhile current prime minister, whose occasional feats of mental gymnastics can be awe-inspiring ...
had strongly condemned the Kohistan incident.
The two leaders directed the concerned authorities to ensure best medical treatment for the injured.
Gilani said such incidents could not deter the government's resolve to fight the menace.
While the president said the culprits of such heinous crime would not be spared
Posted by: Fred