In Dera Ghazi Khan, reports indicate that gunmen attacked Sarwarwali High School, killing a guard on campus. All students and teachers were reported safe, however. This latest assault comes after the large-scale attack on December 16, when gunmen belonging to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 153 people, mostly children. Since then, two grenades were thrown at schools in Karachi. Neither attack led to any casualties.
The attack highlights the continued and considerable threat to educational institutions in Pakistan. Islamists militants, as highlighted by the December 16 attack in Peshawar, maintain an interest in targeting secular schools or those associated with the government. This is in line with a fundamentalist ideological outlook and their campaign against the state. Moreover, militants associated with TTP likely believe that such attacks serve a significant psychological objective, shocking the public, whilst simultaneously furthering the perception that the Pakistani government is unable to provide security. In that context, further attacks on schools in Pakistan should be expected. In response, authorities will likely seek to maintain elevated security protocols around schools nationwide.
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