Firing near Rawalpindi school sparks panic, students evacuated

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RAWALPINDI: Students at Viqar-Un-Nisa School and College for Girls were evacuated as fear and panic gripped the area following an incident of firing near the institute.

Parents and students across the country have been edgy following the attack on Bacha Khan University earlier in January, which brought back memories of the tragic Army Public School attack.

Shots were heard as police exchanged fire with car thieves, Regional Police Officer Fakhar Sultan said.

However, the college principal told DawnNews, “We thought it was a drill. I found out people were panicking but didn’t know why… I didn’t hear any shots,” adding that the students were evacuated following the incident.

Rescue 1122 worker Deeba said the command and control centre received reports about an incident of “terrorist activity”, saying there was firing in the area. “We moved our ambulances, informed police control and urged them to move too. When we reached here, we found girls gathered at the backside of the school.”

“We found some girls injured and thought there had been an incident inside the school… But as reports came in, we found out that wrong information had been circulated which created panic and caused the girls to get out of the school,” she said.

Some girls tried scaling the wall, which was lined with wire, and sustained minor injuries in the process, she said.

“We started evacuating the girls and parents starting coming to the school. Some of the girls went into people’s houses behind the school. We went to each house with teachers, took pictures of the girls to maintain our records, questioned them and sent them back,” the Rescue 1122 worker said.

Army men at the school. ? DawnNews

Army personnel, Elite Forces commandos, members of the Bomb Disposal Squad reached the school to secure the area, DawnNews reported, and the building was cleared.

Schools in the area have been closed for the day and are on alert after the incident, DawnNews reported.