PESHAWAR, Dec 22: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Saturday announced three-day mourning in the province over the killing of senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour and said national flag would also fly at half-mast for three days.
The announcement was made by Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain while speaking to reporters here.
The news about the death of Mr Bashir was shared with media by his elder brother, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, and Peshawar district coordination officer Javaid Marwat at Lady Reading Hospital, where the senior minister was shifted after being targeted by a suicide bomber in the congested Dhaki Nalbandi area.
At the hospital, moving scenes were seen as the people, including women, searched for their relatives among the dead and the injured.
In order to control the mob, police and the hospital’s staff closed the gates and other entry points to the premises. However, ANP workers and the people managed to reach wards.
The doctors and security staff requested the people to cooperate with them. However, the situation went out of the staff’s control when doctors pronounced the death of Mr Bashir. The ANP workers began beating heads and chests crying out loud.Parts of the bomber’s body, including head with long hair, were also placed on a bed. He appeared to be in his twenties.
Outside the hospital, roads remained blocked due to traffic congestion and presence of scores of the people.
As Mr Bashir’s coffin was brought out of the hospital, all ANP workers stepped forward to shoulder it.
Leaders of political parties, ministers, senators, the members of national and provincial assembly reached the hospital after learning about the shifting of Mr Bashir there.
Among them were railways minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Senator Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, communication minister Arbab Alamgir, provincial minister Arbab Ayub Jan, PPP woman MPA Nighat Orakzai and MPA Alamgir Khalil.
Saturday’s was the fifth terrorist attack on Mr Bashir.
The people present inside and outside the hospital remembered Bashir for bravery and said he used to participate in weddings and funerals of the people despite facing terrorist threats.
Meanwhile, Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Sherpao condemned the senior minister’s killing and declared it a cowardly act of terrorists and a conspiracy to deprive the nation of leadership.
He told Dawn that the killing of the senior minister in the suicide attack was an attempt to force the people to remain indoors.
Mr Sherpao said the situation in the province had gone out of the government’s control.
He said the government had failed to focus on preparations for the imminent elections and if the law and order situation was not controlled, then the timely holding of elections in the country would be impossible.
“The attack has once again underscored the disregard of the armed groups for civilian lives,” he said.
The QWP leader asked the government to provide better treatment to the injured and prayed for their health.
He said the targeting of politicians was very unfortunate and asked the government to take effective steps for their protection.
MPA Nighat Orakzai and Amn Tehrik leader Idress Kamal also condemned the killing of Mr Bashir.