The Taliban may have taken responsibility for several killings, but Awami National Party leader Bashir Jan who survived a grenade attack on Thursday night, has preferred to peg this one on a hit-man.
He would not say if any political party was hiring the guns. On Thursday, his vehicle was attacked by armed men as he was returning from a Fateha offering for a party activist. While he escaped unhurt, two of his guards and a passerby were injured. This is the third attack he has survived.
“Militants using the Taliban’s name are targeting those who speak against extremism, and unfortunately, I am one of the victims,” said ANP’s provincial general secretary while talking to The Express Tribune on Friday.
It is not clear why the ANP is insisting on deflecting the blame from the TTP when over 65 men from Swat have been killed in Karachi, mostly at the hands of the TTP. An elected representative from Swat in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly recently told The Express Tribune that they were certain that the TTP was behind most of the killings.
The ANP has been a critic of the Taliban but there appears to be debate on whether they are the only ones attacking the party’s men.
Like Bashir Jan, ANP Sindh chief Senator Shahi Syed did not name any suspect behind the attack. “For a while, our workers are being attacked in the city under a conspiracy,” he said while addressing a press conference at Mardan House on Friday. “As our party continues to grow in the city, so does the pile of bodies.” This party would always struggle against extremism and militancy in the country, he vowed.
“We regret that we are part of this inefficient provincial government. Several times, we have requested the federal cabinet relieve us from this position, but they have turned down our requests.”
Shahi Syed demanded that the government arrests the criminals behind the attacks and called for security and protection to their party members and leaders.
“Neither have the killers of our activists been arrested nor have our people been given protection. The government should not test our patience.”
He also called for an operation in the city against miscreants. “We want an operation so that what happened with the Pakhtun of Malakand does not happen with the Pakhtun of Karachi.” He said that they would not tolerate killings and forced migration of their people from the city. He urged top police officials to take notice.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.