Violence mars canvassing in K-P, Balochistan

NA candidate assassinated in Bajaur; ANP activist shot dead in Qilla Abdullah

Our Correspondent January 31, 2024
Rehan Zeb Khan, PTI candidate from NA-8 Bajaur. PHOTO: EXPRESS


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday summoned an urgent meeting of security officials following the assassination of a National Assembly independent candidate in Bajaur district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the killing of an ANP activist in Balochistan’s Qilla Abdullah.

A sudden spurt in violence -- just eight days before the general elections -- also saw a grenade attack on the election campaign office of PPP candidate, Ali Madad Jatak, on Quetta’s Sariab Road.

A similar grenade attack was carried out at the residence of another PPP candidate, Mir Zahoor Buledi, in Kech district of Balochistan.

A day earlier, a bomb blast on a main road in Balochistan’s Sibi during an election rally led by Saddam Tareen, a PTI-affiliated independent candidate for NA-253 (Ziarat) constituency, leaving at least four people dead and five others injured.

The ECP told the media in Islamabad that it would meet with government and intelligence officials on Thursday (today) to discuss the worsening law and order situation in the two provinces.

In K-P, Rehan Zeb, an independent for NA-8 constituency, was shot dead by unknown assailants, while campaigning in Bajaur district’s Siddiqabad Phattak Bazar at around noon time, according to the local police.

Khan's vehicle following the fatal shooting. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Khan's vehicle following the fatal shooting. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Zeb was among four people injured in the shooting. He suffered bullet wounds to his head and neck. He was rushed to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital in Khar in a serious condition, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Zeb sought to contest the election with the PTI’s support, but the party decided to support another candidate.

However, Zeb decided to contest the elections as an independent candidate. After the incident, elections for NA-8 and the provincial assembly constituency of PK-22 have been postponed.

In Balochistan, violent attacks continued to mar the elections campaigns in various parts of the province. One person was killed and five others sustained injuries in three firing and grenade attacks, the police and party officials said.

An ANP activist, identified as Zahoor Ahmed, was killed and another injured when armed men opened fire in the Maizai Addah in Qilla Abdullah district.

Read: Four die as bomb rips through PTI rally in Sibi

The injured were rushed to a hospital, where the ANP activist breathed his last.

The ANP Balochistan condemned the incident and demanded that the government should arrest the culprits.

In another incident, unknown miscreants lobbed a hand grenade at the election office of the PPP on Sariab Road in Quetta, injuring five people. According to police, Ali Madad Jatak, the PPP candidate for the provincial assembly seat in Quetta, was not present at the office at the time of the attack.

In a third untoward incident, miscreants lobbed a hand grenade at the residence of Mir Zahoor Buledi, the PPP’s candidate for a provincial assembly seat in district Kech.

However, there was no report of any loss of lives. The attackers escaped from the spot.



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