MINGORA/CHARSA-DDA, April 14: Relentlessly carrying out their threat to target three secular parties — ANP, PPP and MQM — during the election campaigns, militants attacked two leaders of the Awami National Party on Sunday, killing one in Swat and injuring another in Charsadda.
According to a foreign news agency, the Taliban claimed responsibility for both the attacks.
On Thursday, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement candidate was gunned down in Hyderabad in an attack also claimed by the Taliban.
According to police, ANP leader Mukaram Shah was killed when a bomb went off near his vehicle outside his house in Swat’s Munglawar area. According to police official Amaad Khan, the 25kgs of explosives were set off by remote control when Mukaram approached his car.
Police cordoned off the area, but no arrest was made till late in the evening. Mukaram Shah was an active member of a peace committee in Swat and supported the army operation against the Taliban. “My father was targeted because he supported the military action in Swat,” Syed Aleem Shah told Dawn. He said his father was supporting the ANP candidate in the area.
According to sources, police and security personnel came under attack during a search operation in Munglawar. Police said a villager, Israr, had been killed and another Hassan Bacha injured.
In Charsadda, ANP candidate for PK-21 Syed Masoom Shah was injured when his motorcade was targeted with a remote-controlled device. His driver and another party worker also suffered injuries.
According to police, Masoom Shah was going to attend a function after addressing party workers in Katozai area. The bomb had been planted in a garbage dump in Muhala Qazian.
He was taken to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar for treatment.
Masoom Shah served as an adviser to former chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and is contesting the election against Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F candidate Fakhr Alam and Qaumi Watan Party’s Sikandar Khan Sherpao.
AP adds: The ANP is among three secular-leaning political parties which the Taliban have threatened to attack during campaigns for the May 11 elections. The other two parties are the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
The Taliban have warned people in a video message to stay away from rallies held by the three parties they consider their enemies.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for the attacks in Swat and Charsadda. “The three parties are on our hit list,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.