Twelve schools in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were burnt down on Thursday night, said the police. The unidentified assailants who carried out the arson near Diamer district headquarters Chilas fled from the spot, reported Dawn. No casualties were reported as the schools were closed at the time.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet, said Diamer Superintendent of Police Roy Ajmal. At least half of the schools set on fire are only for girls, he said, adding that books were set on fire outside the school premises in some cases.
Rehman Malik, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, asked the Baltistan chief secretary to furnish a report. He also said that those responsible for the arson would be severely punished.
The Diamer Youth Movement has called for a protest in Chilas against the incident. The schools were built to promote education in Diamer, which has the lowest rates of literacy for boys and girls in Gilgit-Baltistan.
This is the not the first instance of schools being attacked in Diamer. In 2004 and 2011, alleged extremists reportedly targeted girls’ schools in particular.