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PESHAWAR: A senior leader of the Awami National Party, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, has hinted at involvement of “our own people who have benefited from my nephew’s murder”, not Taliban, in the suicide attack on an election meeting in the Yakatoot area of the city on July 10, which killed Haroon Bilour and 19 others.

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, the eldest uncle of Haroon Bilour, who is contesting the election from NA-35 constituency and had himself survived a suicide attack a few years ago, made this claim while talking to a reporter of a private channel.

Take a look: Bilour threatens FIR against Zardari, COAS and CEC

Mr Bilour told the reporter that Taliban had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on his nephew, but he thought otherwise.

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour suggests it was an ‘inside job’

The 78-year-old Bilour claimed that he had evidence suggesting that Taliban were not involved in the attack. But instead of giving reasons or proof on the basis of which he gave the statement, he just recited some verses suggesting that it was an inside job — a treacherous murder committed by those who were immediate beneficiaries of the killing.

Mr Bilour insisted that the tragic incident did not benefit Taliban, saying that their opponents were wrong to think that they (the Bilours and their political party) would be scared by the attack. “I and my party will take part in elections and won’t let the wishes of our opponents be fulfilled.”

The ANP leader said that his party’s struggle would continue and it would field a candidate in the by-election on PK-78, from where Haroon Bilour was a candidate. The ANP would certainly win the constituency, he added.

Mr Bilour’s statement is contrary to what was initially believed as the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack targeting Haroon Bilour immediately after the incident. The TTP cited targeting of its men during the ANP’s previous five-year rule in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the main reason for such attacks.

In the past, a claim similar to Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s was made by the family of former provincial law minister Israrullah Gundapur after he was killed in a suicide attack on Oct 16, 2013.

Dawn was unable to get into touch with ANP Secretary General Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Information Secretary Zahid Khan to get their version on Mr Bilour’s remarks.

Malak Ghulam Mustafa , a close companion of Haroon Bilour and the ANP’s Peshawar district president, did not endorse Ghulam Ahmed Bilour’s statement and said no discussion on the claim had taken place during a meeting of the district chapter of the party.

“An investigation into the Yakatoot suicide attack has yet to establish who perpetrated the bombing,” Ghulam Mustafa said. “Haroon Bilour was a decent man who did not have enmity with anyone as he never used foul language even against his opponents.”

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2018