PESHAWAR: A commander of banned outfit Ansarul Islam and three others were killed in a suicide attack on Monday in Pakha Ghulam area, on the outskirts of Peshawar.
Medics at the Lady Reading Hospital said that they received three bodies while one injured person succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Six people were also injured, four of them critically.
“The attacker was between 20 and 25 years of age. He targeted Haji Akhunzada, a commander of Ansarul Islam,” SSP Tahir Ayub toldThe Express Tribune. “He approached Akhunzada who was sitting in a field near an under-construction house and blew himself up.”
DSP Imtiaz Shah said that the three other fatalities included Akhunzada’s nephew and son-in-law.
According to Akhunzada’s son Khan Taj, the family had been living in the area for four months and had been receiving threats because his father “was helping the government against extremist group Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI)”. The LeI, led by Mangal Bagh Afridi, is active in Khyber Agency where Akhunzada’s group also operates.
Taj said that earlier, LeI members opened fire at Akhunzada’s vehicle in the Hayatabad neighbourhood of Peshawar. “There is a long list of people and friends who have been killed by the LeI in the last few years.”
Among other family members murdered by the LeI are Akhunzada’s nephew Maulana Mustamin who was killed in Tirah Valley in 2008. Mustamin’s brother Mobin Afridi, who was also Ansarul Islam’s spokesperson, was killed in 2009 in a car explosion in Hayatabad. A few days later, while mourners gathered for Afridi’s death, three people were killed but Akhunzada remained unhurt. Further, a member of Ansarul Islam, Haji Ghulam Nabi, was kidnapped from Pakha Ghulam in early 2008 and remains missing till this day.
Sources said that Akhuzada headed operations against LeI and was a senior member of Ansarul Islam’s shura.
Peace committee member killed
Meanwhile, a member of a peace committee from Mohmand Agency was killed by gunmen in Peshawar on Monday evening. Gunmen who were riding a motorcycle killed Malik Wazir near the Bakhso Pull area on Charsadda Road. Wazir, 70, was a member of the Tehsil Bayzai peace committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2012.