- TTP claims responsibility of attack in which at least 8-10 kgs of explosive material was used
- Ikram’s brother suspects PTI’s Ali Amin Gandapur’s involvement in attack
- President, PM, army chief among others condemn the attack as KP CM forms committee to investigate incident
DI KHAN: With just a few days left in the general elections 2018, another candidate, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ikramullah Gandapur, was killed in a suicide attack in Dera Ismail Khan.
Gandapur, who was a PTI nominee for PK-99, was on his to a political convention when his vehicle was targetted in Kulachi tehsil of DI Khan. Following the attack, Gandapur was taken to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) where he succumbed to his injuries.
At least 10 kg of explosive material was used to target the vehicle, District Police Officer (DPO) Zahoor Khan Afridi said, as he confirmed the deaths of Gandapur and his driver. The injured were being treated at the CMH, he went on to add.
In a statement issued by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), its spokesperson Muhammad Khurasani claimed the responsibility of the attack, saying it was orchestrated to avenge the deaths of Taliban militants, including Moulvi Qutubddin and Commander Malang. The outfit vowed to continue with its attacks throughout the country.
Meanwhile, Ikramullah’s brother Inamullah Gandapur, who serves as a deputy director in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), has said that he suspects former PTI minister Ali Amin Gandapur of being behind the attack on his brother.
Inam had alleged the same back in 2013 when his brother Israrullah Gandapur was killed in a suicide blast.
Gandapur was elected on PK-67 seat after the death of his brother Israrullah Gandapur in a suicide blast and had served as a provincial agricultural minister in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet.
Meanwhile, KP Caretaker Chief Minister Dost Muhammad Khan has constituted a high power committee to investigate the DI Khan attack, which will be headed by the Counter Terrorism Department’s (CTD) chief and comprises SP, SSP Headquarters, DSP Investigation and representatives of the intelligence agencies.
The attack on the political leader were condemned by the president, prime minister, army chief, chief election commissioner and political leadership, including PTI chairman, of the country.
Expressing grief over the attacks on Gandapur, President Mamnoon directed the authorities concerned to ensure protection to all the aspiring candidates while interim PM Nasirul Mulk ordered for beefed up security.
In his statement, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said, “We have lost another patriotic political leader targeted by enemies of peace and democratic process. We stay determined and steadfast. Blood of our martyrs shall not go waste.”
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza expressed annoyance over inappropriate security arrangements for candidates despite reports of threats to them.
Earlier this month, on July 16, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sheikh Aftab Ahmed’s vehicle was targetted in Attock. He was returning from an election meeting when the incident occurred.
Moreover, in what was the deadliest attack on election campaigning, a suicide bomber killed more than 131 people and injured 150 others at an election rally in Balochistan’s Mastung on July 13, in the second election-related attack on the same day. Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Siraj Raisani was also among the dead victims.
On July 10, Haroon Bilour was among the 22 dead when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an ANP political event held in Peshawar, an attack whose responsibility was instantly claimed by the TTP.