Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada, the front man of Punjab’s fight against terrorism was killed in a suicide attack at his political office near Shadi Khan Village in Hazro near Attock on Sunday.
Son of Yousaf Khanzada, Khanzada was born into a Pakhtun family belonging to the Yousufzai clan, according to his profile at the Punjab Assembly website.
He belonged to an influential family and his grandfather, Captain Ajab Khan had served as a member in the Indian Legislative Assembly. His uncle, late Captain (retd) Taj Muhammad Khanzada was also a veteran parliamentarian who also served in Majlis-e-Shura.
After graduating from Islamia College, Peshawar in 1966, he was commissioned in Pakistan Army in 1967 and participated actively in 1971 Indo-Pak war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
In the military, Khanzada served as an instructor during 1974-78, and commander 3 Lancers from 1982-83. He was awarded “Tamgha-e-Basalat” in 1988.
Being among the first few to reach Siachin Glacier in 1983, he also served as a Military Attache to the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC, during 1992-94; and was later seconded to the Embassy of Pakistan as Minister Information.
Following his retirement from the military, Khanzada entered politics and was elected as a member of the Punjab Assembly in 2002. He served as special adviser to the chief minister and also held a ministry portfolio.
He returned to the assembly in 2008 and worked as Chairman Chief Minister’s Task Forces on Agriculture and Police Training Reforms before his most recent appointment as Punjab home minister in October 2014.
Khanzada was reportedly under threats, particularly after Malik Ishaq was killed along with fellow Laskhar-e-Jhangvi militants in Punjab last month.
A preliminary report regarding the attack on Khanzada suggested it was in retaliation for two major actions of Punjab Police in the province, sources told The Express Tribune.