JUI-F activists gather outside the DHQ hospital in Khar on Thursday. — Dawn
JUI-F activists gather outside the DHQ hospital in Khar on Thursday. — Dawn

BAJAUR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Maulana Abdul Salam Haqqani was critically wounded in a remote controlled bomb blast in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur tribal district on Thursday.

The locals and police officials said that the incident occurred at about 7am in Damadola locality, some 16 kms off Khar, the headquarters of the district.

They said that Maulana Abdul Salam Haqqani, the JUI-F district naib emir, was on his way to a nearby religious seminary for routine teaching when the bomb went off near him.

They added that the 42-year-old JUI-F leader was critically wounded in the blast and shifted to district headquarters hospital in Khar.

Party workers block road, demand arrest of perpetrators

The news of the bomb blast spread in the entire district and a large number of JUI-F workers along with local people reached the hospital. However, the injured leader was referred to a hospital in Peshawar in critical condition.

The motive behind the attack on JUI-F leader was not clear as no one has so far claimed responsibility for the blast. However, his family members and party workers said that Maulana Abdul Salam Haqqani had no personal enmity with anyone in the region.

According to the police, they have launched investigation into the incident after registering FIR against unidentified persons. “We have registered the case against unknown assailants and efforts are underway to trace them and ascertain cause behind the incident,” a senior police official told this scribe.

Soon after the JUI-F leader was shifted to a Peshawar hospital due to his precarious condition, scorers of party workers took to streets and staged a protest demonstration at the main square in Khar Bazaar.

The protesters blocked the main Bajaur-Peshawar Highway to traffic for about two hours and condemned the incident. The students of various seminaries, workers of others political parties, traders and local people also joined the protesters.

The protesters, who chanted slogans against the administration and police, were addressed by JUI-F district chief Maulana Abdur Rasheed, Haji Said Badshah, Qari Mustafa, Mujahid Khan and others.

The speakers termed the attack a failure of the administration and police. They said that about 12 JUI-F workers had been killed in such attacks in different areas of the district during the last few years.

They said that killers of none of the slain workers were arrested. They said that it was the prime responsibility of government to protect lives and properties of people.

The JUI-F leaders demanded arrest of the people involved in attack on Maulana Abdul Salam Haqqani. They threatened to launch a full-fledged protest movement if the authorities failed to arrest the attackers.

Meanwhile, security forces claimed to have seized explosive items and arrested a man during an action in the district.

Official said that the explosives were recovered from a vehicle near Zoor Bandar area in Nawagai tehsil. They added that a man was arrested for transporting the explosives.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2021

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