KARACHI: Following Sunday’s attack on the Awami National Party’s (ANP) office in a Taliban-stronghold area of Gulshan-e-Bunair, ANP has shut down its offices across the city.
A local leader of the ANP, Afroze Khan alias Behroz Khan, and a party activist, Bakht Hamil Khan, were killed and around eight others were wounded when armed men opened indiscriminate firing and then threw explosives at the ANP office on Sunday night.
The ANP office, where the incident took place, is situated in the Old Muzaffarabad Colony of Landhi’s Gulshan-e-Bunair, believed to be a stronghold of the notorious Taliban and their terrorist activities. After the bombing on the day of the elections, Sunday’s attack was the first major terrorist activity in Landhi, said a resident Amanullah Khan. “This attack confirms the presence and power of the Taliban,” he told The Express Tribune. “It indicates that now they [Taliban] will not allow the ANP to continue its political activities.”
The ANP office targeted recently by the terrorists is among the few offices that remain open in the city. More than 70 per cent of the party’s offices have already been closed since last year when the Taliban threatened the party activists working in the city.
This attack has also shocked the party leadership, which was not expecting an attack, given their activities have been fairly limited. “Especially after the general elections, some of our people thought the Taliban will not carry out any terrorist activities now,” admitted ANP general secretary Bashir Jan, while talking to The Express Tribune. The ANP is going to review its policy on whether or not it will reopen its offices following the attack.
“There were several reasons why this office remained open,” he said. One of the reasons was that the party believed Gulshan-e-Bunair would be safe given the presence of a large number of ANP activists and supporters in houses surrounding the office. “The office was situated between the homes of ANP supporters,” he explained. “Since it was a Sunday, there was a crowd of ANP men playing cricket and the Taliban took advantage of the situation.”
The attacks on ANP leaders, workers and offices are not a new thing but there was a new element in this latest attack, according to Bashir Jan. “They [terrorists] came, opened indiscriminate firing and threw a grenade or cracker as they were fleeing,” he narrated. However, once they found out that the grenade only hit a wall and failed to cause anymore damage, they came back and three two more grenades, he added. Later, the terrorists roamed openly on the streets while none of the law enforcers were willing to come into the area.
Since the party believed the Taliban had spared them after their fallout in the general elections, they had not taken any significant security measures at the office, said Jan. Now, the ANP has asked its members to become vigilant once more and close the offices, if needed, to avoid the loss of innocent lives.
On the other hand, DSP Ghulam Nabi Wago refused to share the details of the incident. “Both the victims and the culprits are Pashtun-speaking,” was all he said before saying that the police are investigating further. The police have registered a case against unidentified persons.
The ANP men, who lost their lives on Sunday, were laid to rest in a local graveyard.
ANP has come under several attacks in Landhi
January 24 Two consecutive bombings in Landhi that
claimed three lives, including that of Quaidabad
DSP Kamal Khan Mangan
March 14: Three men lost their lives when a blast took place
at a cable operator office
December 12: A policeman and a hotel owner were killed when
a blast took place at a Gharib Nawaz Hotel
December 18: Two female polio workers were killed in the
Landhi area in an act of target killing
May 11: 11 people, including ANP men, were killed in a
bombing near the ANP office
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.
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