August 1, 2023
By Ahmed Saeed
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) caretaker minister for information Feroze Jamal has said that the initial investigation into the Bajur blast during a Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F) public gathering suggested that Daish is behind the attack. However, he said that the KP government would officially confirm it after forensically examining the collected evidence.
Meanwhile the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) through their news outlet Amaq has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack believed to be a suicide blast, happened on July 30 and claimed 56 lives while over 200 people were wounded.
Speaking to senior journalist Munizae Jahangir on her Aaj News show Spotlight, the caretaker minister said that the JUI-F did not seek permission from the district administration for their political event; therefore, adequate security arrangements could not have been made.
Security Analyst Aamir Rana said that several pieces of evidence and past attacks suggest that ISKP was behind such attacks. “However, investigating agencies should broaden the scope of the investigation unless a group claiming the attack presents a video along with their statement. There are many other terrorist groups active in the region besides Daish,” he said.
JUI-F senator and spokesperson Hafiz Hamdullah said that
the suicide attack was not the first attack on party supporters in Bajur, as 22 JUI-F workers have lost their lives in targeted attacks in Bajur occurring in the last few months.
He said that there is a pattern of attacks on JUI-F and its leadership, although they were always accused of being sympathizers of the Taliban. “This phenomenon is not new, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Bajur. After 9/11, there was a concept of peaceful politics, which we are pursuing from the platform of JUI-F. We have always been criticized for being a political arm of the Taliban. JUI-F and seminaries were branded as part of a terrorist network. However, consider how many clerics were martyred in the attack. Maulana Fazal ur Rehman was attacked thrice; his house was targeted twice,” he said.
The JUI-F spokesperson said the party is being attacked due to their support and participation in the democratic process of Pakistan. “The JUI-F believes in the parliamentary form of democracy. There is a mindset that considers this type of politics and democracy as anti-Islamic. But we believe that our constitution is Islamic and was made under the guidance of clerics like Mufti Mahmood,” Hamdullah said.
ISKP warns of more attacks
The ISKP has published a 92-page booklet and has given reasons for their attack on JUI-F. The publication has warned that ISKP would continue to attack the party. It referred to JUI-F as “pro-Republic apostates” and “agents of the regime.”
The group said that the Bajur attack was planned as a tactic for those who are willing to participate in elections and celebrate democracy. The pamphlet also mocked the militant groups who condemned the suicide bombing in Bajaur, particularly the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The booklet attacks JUI’s political views and ideological alliance with the Taliban, as well as its acts against ISKP, such as the death of an ISKP member detained by JUI members in Bajaur in 2021.”