PESHAWAR: Unknown gunmen shot dead a senior opposition leader along with two others in Peshawar on Sunday, police said, hours after a bomb attack near a PML-N leader’s car in Shangla killed five policemen.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Mian Mushtaq, a former high-ranking member of Awami National Party (ANP), was in his car when he was attacked, senior police official Rahim Shah told AFP.
“Up to four gunmen had taken position on both sides of a road and as soon as Mian Mushtaq’s car passed they started firing and fled in the nearby fields,” Shah said.
“Mian Mushtaq and two others died in the firing,” he added.
The ANP is known for its outspoken views against the Taliban and backed military operations against the insurgents while it ruled the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for five years till March 2013.
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has now formed a coalition government in the province but ANP leaders remain in the militants’ sights.
Amir Muqam survives IED explosion in Shangla
Earlier in the day two roadside bombs targeting Amir Muqam of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) party killed five of his security detail in the Martong area of Swat valley, which the Taliban controlled from 2007-2009.
“At least five policemen were killed and four others were wounded,” senior police official Abdullah Khan told AFP.
The dead and wounded were travelling in the security car that was leading the other vehicles, he said.
DPO Shangla Gulzar Khan, confirmed the attack, which was later condemned in a statement by the prime minister’s office.
The DPO said Muqam had left his house in Chagam area of Shangla to solve a dispute between two rival groups in Martong, when two improvised explosive devices weighing two kilograms (4.4 pounds) each were remotely detonated minutes apart. A third unexploded device found at the crime scene was defused by a bomb disposal squad.
Muqam, an advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told AFP that he was safe but distraught over the loss of the men in his security detail.
“I thank God for saving my life. I am very sad over the loss of my people who gave their lives while protecting me,” he said.
He said that he was travelling in the area with some 15 vehicles in his convoy as part of campaign efforts for local elections.
The Pakistani Taliban, other militant affiliates and Al-Qaeda-linked networks all have strongholds in the country’s northwest, particularly in the semi-autonomous areas on the Afghan border.
Proud to be nominated in FIR against Chaudhry Aslam: TTP
TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid admitted TTP were behind both attacks.
He said for a long time, ANP has been on TTP’s hit list and will continue to be so.
About Amir Muqam, Shahid said the now PML-N leader was previously part of Musharraf’s regime. He was attacked because both parties were against Taliban.
The spokesperson also said TTP was ‘proud’ to be nominated in the FIR against Chaudhry Aslam.