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July 23, 2018

PTI candidate martyred in DI Khan suicide bombing

Top Story

July 23, 2018

DERA ISMAIL KHAN/BANNU: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate for provincial assembly constituency PK-99 Sardar Ikramullah Khan Gandapur was martyred and five others were injured in a suicide bombing near Nuri Darbar in Mohallah Kamalkhel in Kulachi tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan district on Sunday.

It was learnt that Ikramullah Gandapur was leaving the residence of one Ikram Kamalkhel and was about to board his vehicle when the blast took place. He had gone there in connection with his election campaign.

There were reports that a suicide bomber blew up near the vehicle of Ikramullah Gandapur, whose brother Israrullah Gandapur was also martyred in a suicide attack in Dera Ismail Khan in October 2013.

The blast left Ikramullah Gandapur, his driver Mohammad Ramazan, former union council nazim Najeeb Shah, gunman Dilnawaz and Abdur Razzaq and a passer-by Saifur Rehman injured.

Soon after the blast, officials of the Rescue 1122 and the local people shifted the injured to the Civil Hospital and the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dera Ismail Khan. Police officials said Ikramullah Gandapur succumbed to his injuries at the CMH. The condition of his driver Mohammad Ramazan was stated to be critical.

The vehicle of Ikramullah Gandapur and the nearby houses were also damaged in the blast. The attack was carried out in a narrow street surrounded by houses on both sides. Another vehicle with armed guards was following Ikramullah Gandapur’s vehicle and its occupants later rushed towards the site of the blast to help the injured. The police cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to nab the suspects.

Dera Ismail Khan’s District Police Officer Manzoor Afridi was quoted as saying that at least eight to 10 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.

Meanwhile, the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack through its spokesman Mohammad Khorasani. He told The News in a phone call from an undisclosed location that the TTP targeted Ikramullah Gandapur after he got killed 12 of their colleagues and arrested some others.

“We didn’t attack him because he was the PTI candidate. We specifically targeted Ikramullah Gandapur because he openly opposed and challenged us,” the TTP spokesman added. He identified the suicide bomber as Junaid. He reminded that TTP had also claimed responsibility for the assassination of Israrullah Gandapur.

It may be mentioned that Israrullah Gandapur was martyred in the suicide attack at his residence on the day of Eidul Azha on October 16, 2013. He was receiving guests offering Eid greetings when the suicide bomber exploded near him. Israrullah Gandapur had thrice been elected MPA and was law minister in the PTI government when he was martyred.

Meanwhile, Inam Khan, brother of Ikramullah and Israrullah Gandapur, while talking to a private news channel alleged that former KP minister Ali Amin Gandapur was involved in the murder of his two brothers. He said he had brought the issue into the notice of Imran Khan and other party leaders, but no action was taken. He appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of the assassination of his two brothers to uncover the real killers.

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (R) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan condemned the assassination of the PTI candidate Ikramullah Gandapur in the suicide attack and sought report of the incident from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

As per the official communiqué issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), KP chapter, the CEC directed the caretaker chief minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police chief and chief secretary to submit to him a detailed report of the incident. The CEC questioned why proper security was not being provided to the candidates during election campaign even after repeated directives from the Election Commission. The CEC once again directed the provincial government to provide proper security to the candidates without any discrimination and ensure peaceful environment for the July 25 general election. He offered condolence to the family members of late Ikramullah Gandapur.

Meanwhile, former chief minister and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) candidate for National Assembly constituency NA-35 Akram Khan Durrani escaped unhurt in a firing incident in Mandori area in Bannu district.

It was the second attack on Akram Durrani, who is a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), in the last 10 days. It was learnt that unidentified gunmen opened fire on Akram Durrani’s vehicle in Mandori, located in the limits of Bannu Police Station. Though Akram Durrani remained safe, the windscreen of his vehicle was damaged in the firing.

Eyewitnesses said that Akram Durrani, who served as chief minister in the MMA government from 2002-2008, was about to get off his vehicle to meet the people when the firing incident took place. Soon after the incident, the police and personnel of the security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation during which a suspect was arrested. The police said that a sniper gun was used in the attack.

It may be recalled that Akram Durrani, who served as federal minister as a nominee of the JUI-F in the PML-N government from 2013-2018, escaped unhurt on July 13 in a blast targeting his convoy in Howaid Khas area in Bannu. He was returning to Bannu city from Howaid village when a motorcycle stuffed with explosives and parked on the roadside occurred. Four persons were martyred and several injured in the attack.

Earlier, the MMA candidate for provincial assembly constituency PK-89 Malik Shireen was attacked with a roadside blast in Bakkakhel area in Bannu. These incidents have caused concern among the election candidates and the people in the run-up to the polling day on July 25.

APP adds from Rawalpindi: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed grief on the martyrdom of the PTI candidate Ikramullah Gandapur in a suicide attack.

Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor shared a tweet with the message of the army chief.

“We have lost another patriotic political leader who are being targeted by enemies of peace & democratic process. We stay determined & steadfast. Blood of our martyrs shall not go waste, IA (Insha Allah),” the COAS said.

Meanwhile, Geo News reported that at least 20 people were injured after a hand grenade exploded outside Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) electoral office in Dalbadin on Sunday night. According to the police, the injured were shifted to a nearby hospital. The police and law enforcing agencies cordoned off the area and started an investigation into the incident.

This is not the first attack on a BAP election campaign. A total of 149 people including BAP candidate Nawab Siraj Raisani were martyred in a suicide bombing at an election meeting in Mastung on July 13.

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