Thousands demand government punish school bus attackers in northwest Pakistan

Thousands of people have marched on Tuesday through several regions of northwestern Pakistan to demand the government to act against the perpetrators of the attack on a school bus on Monday, which left the driver dead and two students injured.

The largest mobilization has taken place in Swat, where gunmen attacked this Monday a school vehicle. An attack that locals attribute to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known as the Pakistani Taliban.

The protesters have announced that they will march towards the capital, Islamabad, if the government within 24 hours does not take action against those responsible for the attack. “We will spend the whole night in the open, continuing the protest,” said one of these people who has come to protest, according to the newspaper ‘Dawn’.

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“The government is not taking the issue seriously,” Haider Ali, a social activist, has denounced to the same media, while protesting that the authorities they have sent to listen to their demands “have no power.”

In addition to the arrest of those responsible, the protesters have asked the government to strengthen security in the region, bordering Afghanistan, due to fears of a possible resurgence of fundamentalists, who already had control of the area between 2007 and 2009.

The Pakistani Taliban, who differ from the Afghans in organizational matters but agree on the same rigorist interpretation of Sunni Islam, bring together more than a dozen Islamist militant groups operating in Pakistan, where they have killed some 70,000 people in two decades of violence.

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The government of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Jan struck a one-month ceasefire deal with the TTP in November 2021, although it was not extended, amid fears that the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan months earlier could give them more leverage.

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