News Analysis |
Terror amidst the peak of 2018 General elections kills another political candidate just three days before the big day. Ikramullah Gandapur, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate for PK-99, was targeted in a suicide attack while touring for his election campaign. He was critically injured and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Election Commission of Pakistan and the other departments concerned are fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities to ensure a transparent election and a smooth transfer of power.
DI Khan DPO Manzoor Afridi informed media that at least eight to 10 kilograms of explosive material was used in the suicide attack on Gandapur, which took place in the Kulachi area of the district.
Gandapur had till recently served as the provincial agriculture minister in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet. He was elected through a by-election on the Dera Ismail Khan PK-67 seat after it was vacated following the death of his brother, former law minister Israr Ullah Gandapur, also in a suicide attack.
PTI’s chief Imran Khan and Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed their condolences and condemned the “cowardly terrorist attack”.
Terrorists targeting Election campaigns across the country
Terrorists are targeting elections campaigns across the country. The caretaker set has issued a warning to the politicians to limit their activities. In another deadly terror attack, the last 10th of July, in Peshawar, a suicide bomb blast killed ANP’s PK-78 candidate Haroon Bilour and injuring 34 individuals. According to media reports, the main target was Haroon Bilour who was campaigning in the area.
On July 13, in another deadly suicide bomb blast in the southern Pakistani province of Balochistan, almost more than 128 people were killed and 200 injured. According to the security sources, an explosion occurred at an election meeting of Nawabzada Siraj Raisani in Darengarh area of Mastung.
Ikramullah Gandapur, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate for PK-99, was targeted in a suicide attack while touring for his election campaign.
Raisani, who was a candidate of the recently-formed Balochistan Awami Party, was killed in the suicide attack. He was the younger brother of Nawab Aslam Raisani, former chief minister of Balochistan.
The ISIS has claimed the responsibility for the bomb blast, targeting a corner meeting. According to media reports, the Islamic State group has a muted presence in Pakistan but has carried out brutal attacks there in the past, including the blast at a Sufi shrine in February last year which killed nearly 90 people. Militants have targeted politicians, religious gatherings, security forces and even schools in Pakistan.
On July 22, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s leader Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy was attacked in Bannu, resulting in the death of four people and injuries to around a dozen others. Durrani, who is contesting from NA-35 (Bannu), was returning from an election rally when his convoy was hit.
Violence before elections: Not New
According to a report, a total of 148 terrorist attacks were reported across Pakistan between January 1 and May 15, 2013– most of them in the months of April and May–that targeted political leaders and workers, election candidates, offices and rallies, and polling stations. As many as 170 people were killed and another 743 were injured in these attacks.
“Out of total 148 attacks, 108 were perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and associated local Taliban and other militant groups which claimed the lives of 156 people and injured 665 others. Baloch nationalist insurgents carried out 40 such attacks that killed 14 people and injured another 78.”
Awami National Party (ANP) faced a maximum number of terrorist attacks between January 1 and May 15 (37), followed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) with 12 attacks each.
Who is targeting Pakistan and Pakistanis?
Dr. Rana Eijaz Ahmad, a political analyst based in Lahore, said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the institutions are working independently and rigorously to ensure a free and fair general election on July 25. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Election Commission of Pakistan and the other departments concerned are fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities to ensure a transparent election and a smooth transfer of power. But this is not what the regional global power wish to happen in Pakistan, he added. Political instability in the country is not only beneficial for some of the politicians in the country but it is also desirable for the foreign powers to protect their national interests.
Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a political commentator, has repeatedly written and said in his talk shows that these terror attacks need to be understood while bearing one fundamental question into our heads; Who benefits?