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May 1, 2015

Aftab Sherpao survives three bids on his life in eight years


May 1, 2015

LAHORE: The former two-time Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister, an ex-Minister for Water and Power and former Federal Interior Minister, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, has luckily survived on Thursday a bid on his life which happens to be third one in eight years.
Earlier, on April 28, 2007, Sherpao was injured in a suicide attack in his home area of Charsadda. And then on December 21, 2007, on Eid al-Azha, a suicide bomb blast targeting Aftab Sherpao had killed at least 57 and injured over 100 at Jamia Masjid Sherpao in District Charsadda.
Though Sherpao had survived this blast as well, his younger son Mustafa Khan was injured in this incident. Aftab Sherpao had relinquished charge as interior minister just about a month back when the assemblies were dissolved and the country was preparing for the next polling exercise.
Educated at the Edwardes College Peshawar and Pakistan Military Academy Kakul (Abbottabad), this 70-year old former Pakistan Army soldier’s elder brother and former Governor of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao, was assassinated in 1975 in a bomb explosion. He was one of the founders of the Pakistan People’s Party.
By the way, Sherpao already features in the club of lucky politicians who have managed to survive deadly attacks aimed at taking their lives.These lucky important figures including former President Pervez Musharraf (attacked unsuccessfully on December 14, 2003, December 25, 2003, December 14, 2005, July 6, 2007 and October 8, 2007), former
Premier Shaukat Aziz (attacked unsuccessfully on July 30, 2004 at his election rally at Fateh Jang, Attock District), sitting ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan (targeted twice), former Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Muhammad Yousaf, the JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman (targeted thrice), the Swat-born PML-N senior vice president Engineer Ameer Muqam (survived at least seven bids on life since November 9, 2007), former Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and former

Federal Ministers Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed (targeted twice at least) and Hamid Saeed Kazmi etc.
On March 11, 2009, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister and a senior ANP leader Bashir Bilour survived yet another assassination attempt at Namak Mandi locality of Peshawar. He had earlier survived the November 11, 2008 life scare. Bashir Ahmad Bilour was eventually killed in a suicide attack in December 2012.
It is imperative to note that quite a few Pakistani prime ministers, presidents, governors, chief ministers, sitting and former ministers, eminent front-line politicians, noted religious scholars, highly placed army and police officials have been assassinated since October 16, 1951, the day which marks the murder of country’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in Rawalpindi.
Here follows a list of well-known Pakistanis, who have been attacked during the last five decades or so:
MQM Chief Altaf Hussain was unsuccessfully targeted on December 21, 1991. Former Premier Benazir Bhutto did escape unhurt in one attempt on her life, but could not duck the second one in just two months in 2007, eventually falling victim to it on December 27, 2007.
On December 14, 2003, General Musharraf had survived an elimination attempt when a powerful bomb went off minutes after his highly guarded convoy crossed a bridge in Rawalpindi.
Musharraf was apparently saved by a jamming device in his limousine that prevented the remote controlled explosives from blowing up the bridge as his convoy passed over it.
On December 25 of the same year, another attempt was made to assassinate Musharraf, but the then president had miraculously survived. (List of other attacks on Musharraf have been listed at the beginning of this story.)
On June 10, 2004, the then Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hyat had survived an attack on his life as gunmen had opened fire on the convoy carrying him.
On August 2, 2004, the then Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Mohammad Yousaf had escaped an assassination bid, when unidentified persons fired at his convoy.
On July 6, 2007, General Musharraf had escaped yet another attempt on his life when around 36 rounds fired at his aircraft from a submachine gun in Rawalpindi.
On October 18, 2007, an attack on Benazir Bhutto’s convoy in Karachi had killed over 139 people and leaving around 450 injured. Benazir Bhutto was returning after eight years of self-imposed exile, when the bomber had struck her convoy.
On October 2, 2008, a suicide attack targeted the house of ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan in Walibagh, Charsadda, though the target managed to survive the hit.
On October 6, 2008, a PML-N MNA Rashid Akbar Nawani was hurt in a suicide attack at his Bhakkar home. This attack had killed 20 people and injured 60 others.
On January 20, 2010, another ANP leader Aurangzeb Khan was seriously injured in a Peshawar bomb blast.
In June 2013, a bomb targeting the convoy of the then Sindh High Court judge Justice Maqbool Baqir (later elevated as Chief Justice Sindh High Court and a sitting Supreme Court judge since February 2015) had exploded near Karachi’s Burns Road area. At least nine people were killed in this incident but the honourable judge survived in spite of sustaining serious injuries. Justice Baqir’s head was hit by ball bearings and glass shards in the explosion. The deceased included seven policemen, one Rangers personnel and Justice Baqir’s driver.

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