Intelligence agencies issued an advisory to a raft of political leaders on Thursday, cautioning them against making appearances at rallies and other public events and even avoiding meetings with guests in their homes.
At the same time, the advisory notice also directed them to enhance their own safety measures.
The advisory was issued in the wake of threats issued to Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Amir Muqam of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Premier security agencies such as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Special Branch (SB) asked them especially to avoid appearances at Eidul Fitr prayers.
Besides, they are also asked to avoid receiving guests at their homes and stay away from attending public gatherings.
A senior leader of ANP, who wished not to be named, said that senior officers of MI and IB called Mian Iftikhar Wednesday night about the serious threat to his life. When contacted, he confirmed the threat.
“Celebrations on Eid are out of question, keeping in view the miseries of North Waziristan displaced families and sorrows of APS martyred children’s parents,” he said. The ANP leader also said he won’t be able to attend guests at his hujra due to personal engagements. The ANP has lost some of its top leaders such as Bashir Ahmad Bilour in terror attacks.
A blast was reported late Wednesday outside ANP leader Hidayatullah’s house in Peshawar’s Din Bahar Colony. Twice before, explosives were planted outside his house only to be defused in time following his refusal to pay extortion.
QWP chief Aftab Sherpao, who has survived at least five bomb attacks, has been asked to avoid public gatherings.
He survived a bomb blast in December 2007 when he was offering Eid prayer in his hometown Sherpao. Around 41 people were killed in the blast.
When contacted, Sikandar Hayat Sherpao, QWP provincial president, said that his party leaders have been facing life threats since militancy took root in the Pakhtun belt.
He called upon the law enforcement agencies to increase vigilance and ensure protection of life and property of people.
Similarly, Amir Muqam has also survived several attacks on his life. He was also told to stay away from Eid prayers and public gatherings for the time being.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2015.