PESHAWAR: Surviving one terrorist attack can be a chance or sheer good luck but surviving 10 such attacks is no less than a miracle.
The lucky man, Pir Haider Ali Shah, a former Awami National Party MNA, insists terrorist attacks have not deterred him either from remaining associated with ANP or from visiting his constituency.
“Maybe, the people haven’t voted for the ANP in the elections for many reasons, especially on corruption charges. People are upset but they have not shunned this party for fear of terrorists,” said Shah, who is also a former district nazim of Hangu.
Since miracles don’t happen every day, the ANP has lost almost 850 workers in terrorist attacks and targeted killings.
ANP to compile data of slain activists
To pay homage and formally make them part of its history, the Asfandyar Wali Khan-led party is planning to collect particulars of workers, who were killed by terrorists during the last six years.
The ANP, which had supported military offensive against the Taliban in Swat valley and openly condemned acts of terrorism during its five-year rule in the province, is not in power anymore. However, there is no halt to terrorist attacks against its leaders and workers.
In Swat and Buner districts, terrorists may not be visible anymore but their shadows still haunt those associated with the ANP.
There is a list of people, who were shot down in the middle of busy and crowded bazaars in Buner and Swat districts just because they were workers of the ANP.
As the ANP workers, who are not as lucky as Pir Haider Ali Shah is, continue to fall, the party has set up a committee to collect data of activists, who have died in acts of terrorism during the last six years.
ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who also lost a young son in a terrorist attack, told Dawn that the data would help learn about slain workers by name.
According to him, the FIRs and hospital record is a proof of the cause of their deaths. Those who do not recognise the sacrifices of ANP in the war against terrorism will know it is a fact when people come to know not just figures but also the names and other particulars of slain workers.
“We say that in Babarha (Charsadda) shootout, some 610 Khudai Khidmatgaar workers were killed. However, it is sad that even we don’t know the names of all of them,” said Mian Iftikhar, who felt recording details of its killed workers would help recognise the workers’ sacrifice.
He said once there was a database of such workers, anybody seeking information or wanting to do research would have access to it.
The ANP leader said the database would also have details of the immediate family members of slain workers and if the party wanted to pay compensation or help the family, the database would be a great help.
ANP parliamentary leader in the provincial assembly and information secretary Sardar Hussain Babak, who himself has survived four attempts on life, hails from the militancy-affected Buner district.
He might be lucky to have narrowly escaped death four times but he feels that a list of ANP workers, who were targeted by terrorists for their association with the ANP, were still unknown to many.
“They may go down in history as unsung and nameless heroes. However, once the ANP compiles their particulars, it could be of some solace to their bereaved families,” he said.
Sardar Babak named effortlessly the ANP activists targeted by terrorists in his native district.
“Anwar Khan was our active worker. Afzal Khan, who was shot in the middle of a crowded bazaar, was a polite man, who had no enmity. Fateh Khan, who was a lashkar head in Sulatn Wus, was also killed. The list goes on. Our workers in Buner are still getting threats,” he said.
Sardar Babak was of the view that the ANP had paid a heavy price for owning military action against terrorists.
He said the compiling of their particulars was an attempt to keep slain workers alive in history for their great sacrifice for the party.
“Some people don’t believe us when we say almost 850 of our workers have been killed in terrorist attacks. The database will substantiate our claim,” said Mian Iftikhar.
Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2014