PESHAWAR, May 7: Fourteen people were killed and 52 injured in three terrorist attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday as violence aimed at subverting electioneering continued.
Eight people were killed and 33 injured in a suicide attack on a rally of a Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl candidate in Hangu near Kohat.
Five people were killed and 16 suffered injuries when a roadside bomb hit a convoy of PPP activists in Maidan tehsil, Lower Dir district.
A supporter of a candidate of a relatively little known party was killed and three others were injured when they came under attack in Baja town of Swabi area.
Foreign news agencies put the causalities of the Hangu and Lower Dir attacks at 17 and said the wounded included a candidate.
In Hangu district, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up near the convoy of JUI-F candidate Mufti Janan Khan, who is reputed to be pro-Taliban.
Mufti Janan, contesting for PK-43 seat, was safe but
his two bodyguards were wounded.
“They were going to Tall from Doaba when the bomber struck,” Deputy Commissioner Tahir Zafar Abbasi said.
The army cordoned off the area to look for the assailants. Police took the bodies and the injured to hospitals. Shops and markets were closed after the blast.
Bomb disposal unit personnel said explosives weighing five kilogramme had been detonated by a remote control.
Meanwhile, death toll in Monday’s attack on a JUI-F meeting in Kurram tribal region rose to 26 after seven people injured in the attack died.
In Lower Dir, the convoy of a PPP candidate was hit when an improvised explosive device planted on a road went off in Baba Gam area of Maidan tehsil. Police said the candidate’s brother and four supporters were killed.
SHO Haidar Zaman said the vehicle of the deceased bore the brunt of the explosion. Those who died included former district naib nazim Muhammad Zahir Shah, brother of Muhammad Zamin Khan — PPP candidate for PK-96 — and cousin of ANP Senator Zahid Khan.
The other victims were identified as Syed Zaman, Jamshed Khan, Taj Muhammad and police official Muzaffar, who was driving the vehicle.
Zahir Shah and his friends were returning home after attending a street corner meeting when they came under attack, the SHO said. Muhammad Zamin had not attended the meeting.
Local people said the huge blast created panic in the area.
Bomb disposal unit said 10kg explosives had been used in the attack, the first one of its kind in Maidan tehsil which was under the control of Dir Taliban in 2009 when it was cleared of militants by security forces.
In the third incident, a political activist was killed and three others were injured when gunmen fired at a convoy of Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan chairman Shahram Khan Tarakai in Baja town of Swabi area.
Shahram Khan, a former district nazim, is contesting from NA-13 (Swabi-II) and PK-32 (Swabi-II) seats.
He and his supporters were returning from a meeting when they were attacked.
This is the first attack on a candidate of a party other than the ANP and PPP in the district.
The injured were taken to Swabi hospital and one of them was later sent to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
Shahram Khan has condemned the attack as a cowardly act and said such attacks would not deter him and his supporters from taking part in the elections.
A man who identified himself as Omar and claimed to be spokesman of the Hangu chapter of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), accepted responsibility for the attack on the JUI-F rally. But the TTP’s central spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan later denied the attack on JUI-F but said his men were behind the attack on the PPP convoy Talking to reporters on phone from an unspecified place, Omar warned that they would attack rallies of all political parties taking part in the elections.
“Earlier the Taliban Shura decided to target only secular parties — the Awami National Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the PPP — but now all democratic parties, including religious ones, are on our hit list,” he said.
None of the religious parties had promised to enforce Islamic system in the country in its true spirit, he added.
According to an AFP report, 12 people were killed and the JUI-F candidate was injured in the Hangu attack.
“The suicide bomber blew himself up near the vehicle of Mufti Janan. He was injured but is safe,” said Abdul Hameed Khan, a senior government official.
Mufti Janan told AFP he had been wounded on his head and shoulder.
The Tuesday’s deaths raise to 109 the number of people who have died in attacks on politicians and political parties since April 11.
(Abdul Sami Paracha from Kohat, Haleem Asad from Timergara and Muqaddam Khan from Swabi contributed to this report.)