Feb 1, 2023

By Arshad Mohmand


Bajaur:

Thousands of people on Thursday attended the funeral of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Rehan Zeb Khan who was shot dead on Jan 31.

Rehan Zeb was vying for seats in the national and provincial assemblies as an independent candidate, contesting through NA-8 and PK-22 Bajaur.

According to the police, he was canvassing in Siddiqabad Phattak Bazar when unknown assailants opened fire on his vehicle. Four other people were also injured in the firing.

Later, IS-KP, a Daesh-affiliated group, claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the police have yet to register an FIR for the incident.

The latest attack comes a day after a blast at a PTI rally in Sibi, Balochistan claimed six lives.

Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has postponed the polls for NA-8 and PK-22.

After Rehan Zeb’s burial, locals staged a sit-in, urging for peace in the region.

Haroon-ur-Rasheed, a JI candidate from NA-8, has demanded security in Bajur for holding elections. “Campaigning for elections requires a peaceful environment. We have seen a rise in bomb blasts and attacks recently. Such an atmosphere of terror badly impacts the conduct of free and fair elections.”

‘Violence has risen’

Residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district have been experiencing an upsurge in incidents of violence over the last few months, in which scores have lost their lives. In July 2023, over 50 people were killed in a bomb attack during a JUI-F rally in Bajur.

PTI’s local leader Matti Ullah, while speaking to Voicepk, said locals are protesting against the wave of violence in Bajaur. “People are being targeted, attacks are being carried out and no one knows who is behind this [violence]?

Local elders demand practical steps be taken by all stakeholders, including the administration, to combat the surge in violence.

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