PESHAWAR: The Awami National Party (ANP) lost about 485 diehard activists during the ongoing ‘war on terror’ for its tough stance against militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas over the last many years.
Most of the casualties were from Malakand division where the party leaders and workers remained on the hit list of terrorists since 2006. The latest blow was the assassination of Mian Arshad Hussain, the only son of the Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who had been declared by the militants as their “enemy number one” for his harsh statements against them.
The nationalist party suffered another blow when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the residence of the information minister in Pabbi when hundreds of women were there to offer condolences to the family and men were offering Fateha in the nearby mosque.
Mian Iftikhar is not deterred but ready to sacrifice even his own life. “We all are to die. I am proud of the martyrdom of my son,” the outspoken minister told journalists on Tuesday. “Two of our MPAs have been killed in the bomb attacks. Alamzeb, MPA from Peshawar, was killed in January last year in a roadside blast. Another was Dr Shamsher from Swat, killed in a suicide attack three days after Eidul Azha last year,” said Zahid Hussain, a former nazim of Landi Arbab and the ANP Peshawar chapter office-bearer.
Several were lucky to escape unhurt in terror attacks. They include ANP head Asfandyar Wali Khan, who escaped a suicide attack at the family house, Wali Bagh, in 2008. Four people were killed and several wounded in the attack.
Afzal Khan Lala proved to be the main source of courage for his party activists. The elderly politician survived rocket attacks on his house and hujra and bombings and firing on his car when he refused to leave Swat at the time when the elite of the valley shifted to safer places.
Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour has survived two suicide attacks. The first one was outside Qayyum Sports Complex when he along with Mian Iftikhar Hussain was coming out of the stadium after attending the closing ceremony of the Inter-provincial Sports Gala in 2008. Four people including gunman of the senior minister were killed in the explosion.
Another attack occurred in Namakmandi in Peshawar when he was inspecting the site of development projects. Two bombers and six locals were killed in that attack. Bilour’s house near the US Consulate had also been damaged in a rocket attack.
ANP Provincial President Senator Afrasiyab Khattak survived a suicide bombing at his rally in Charsadda during the campaign for the 2008 general elections. Brothers of two Swat MPAs, Wajid Ali Khan and Waqar Ahmad Khan, were among those killed during the violence for almost three years in the district.
“Two of our MPAs from Peshawar, Aurangzeb from PF-1 and Alamgir Khalil from PF-6, survived separate bomb attacks for being leaders of the ruling nationalist party. There are a large number of MNAs, MPAs and nazims, who have experienced bombings and firing in Malakand division,” said Naseer Khan, secretary of the ANP, Hazarkhwani-II.
There were reports that threatening letters were sent and phone calls made to a large number of nationalist leaders and activists all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, many leaders of the party are still firm that they will continue fighting the militants. Bashir Bilour termed this ‘war on terror’ as the “Third World War” during the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly session on Monday.
Source: The News