26 July, 2014 / Ramazan 27, 1435

PESHAWAR, Jan 13: Police investigators have rejected the claim of outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) about Saturday’s attack on Awami National Party leader Bashir Khan Umarzai.

They said that the prime victim among 15 injured had a blood feud with another influential political family in his hometown Charsadda. The motive of the attack didn’t seem political, they added.

“The modus operandi of the attack resembled with the ones carried by Taliban elsewhere in the country but it can’t be equated with the assassinations of Bashir Ahmed Bilour, Mian Rashid Hussain and other ANP leaders and workers,” police said.

They said that in many cases Taliban received money from people to target their rivals. “TTP harbours criminals in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and pays them for every act of terrorism,” they said.

The officials associated with investigation said that Taliban would have received amount from the rival family for targeting Bashir Umarzai, a former provincial minister.

Several persons have been fallen in the long-drawn enmity between the two Charsadda-based influential families.

Alamzeb Khan Umarzai, an MPA of Qaumi Watan Party, was killed in April 2010 along with three other persons and his family lodged FIR against Bashir Umarzai’s family.

“Their enmity is talk of the town, therefore, it was not surprising that Bashir’s family nominated the family members of late Alamzeb in the FIR despite TTP’s claiming responsibility for the attack,” the investigators said.

Vindicating the police’s version, Provincial Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain told Dawn that TTP had a fleet of criminals, who might have been paid for the attack on Mr Umarzai.

“There is a mechanism of payment to militants. The payment for the high-profile assassinations or attacks is more than the ones wherein victims are common people. Taliban get more money for the attacks, which draw more media attention like the assassination of Bashir Bilour,” Mr Hussain said.

He said that in many incidents of terrorism TTP got two benefits.

“First, through terrorist attacks, militants give an impression that they are opposed to liberal political parties like ANP. Secondly, they act as hired assassins and receive money from the warring families,” the minister said.

He said that such attacks and kidnapping for ransom were big sources of Taliban’s income. “The strategy of TTP to target political leaders and scare away people from participating in public meetings is a ploy to affect election campaign of liberal politicians,” he said.

However, the minister said that the strategy of TTP to disrupt political process in the country would force democratically-elected parties to take action against it.

“TTP will never want ANP to get elected in the next elections because it is against its interest. TTP knows that ANP would create problems for it if elected in the elections.

Therefore, it tries to keep the party aloof from elections and get elected the candidates fielded by those parties that can’t harm it,” he said.

The minister said that they knew that militants were behind all acts of terrorism but even then they were ready to hold talks with them provided they agreed to stop violence for the sake of the country.

“We are ready to forgive TTP for killing of our workers and leaders if it wants peace through talks,” he said.

The minister said that Taliban had already threatened to sabotage the coming elections as they were opposed to democratic process, he said.

Most of the pro-democracy parties were not in the good books of Taliban, especially ANP, which had lost 700 of its workers and leaders while battling them, the minister said.

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