PESHAWAR: Gunmen shot dead two members of an anti-Taliban peace committee in northwestern Swat valley, where militants tried to murder schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, police said Friday.
The shooting will heighten fears of a campaign of targeted killings in Swat, as in the last four months, two businessmen and outspoken anti-militant campaigners have been shot dead and two others wounded. The latest incident took place in the Charbagh area, a former militant stronghold some 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Mingora, the main town of Swat valley, where Taliban shot 15-year-old Malala in the head for promoting the right of girls to go to school.
Police said gunmen opened fire on Tajim Gul late Thursday, in front of a mosque while Sardar Mohammad was gunned down at his home. "In both incidents the attackers managed to flee. We have registered a case against the unknown attackers," Liaqat Ali, an official in Charbagh police station told AFP.
Daidar Ghani, another police official, confirmed the incident. Mohammad's five-year-old son was injured in the shooting. Residents said both victims were members of local peace committee and they blamed Taliban for the killing. All four victims before Malala were senior members of an anti-militancy group.
Malala, who won international recognition for a blog about the horrors of life under the Taliban and a campaign for the right to an education, is the highest-profile target of militants in Swat for more than three years. The army declared Swat, once known as the "Switzerland of Pakistan", back under control in July 2009, after defeating radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah and his Taliban fighters who waged a two-year campaign of terror in the district. The operation was arguably Pakistan's most successful offensive to date against the homegrown insurgents who have bombed and killed thousands across the country for the last five years.