Dera Ismail Khan:
Pakistan’s political outfit, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s convoy, came under attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan, Geo News reported on Sunday.
The veteran politician’s convoy was fired upon from multiple sides at Yarik interchange, the party’s spokesperson, Mufti Abrar confirmed Geo News on Sunday.
JUI-F chief was travelling through DI Khan when his convoy came under attack near the toll plaza.
In response to a query regarding Fazl’s safety, he assured that the veteran politician was safe.
Speaking to Geo News, Fazl’s brother denied the attack on veteran politician. saying that the JUI-F chief was at home when the incident happened.
“Maulana’s car stopped for refuelling near the Yarik interchange [when the incident happened,” he added.
The alleged attack comes in the backdrop of repeated security concerns raised by Fazl who, on multiple occasions, has cast doubts over the staging of polls due to the “unstable” security situation in some parts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Geo News reported.
“There is no police in Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, and Lakki Marwat. Can the polls be staged in this situation of unrest?” The senior politician wondered while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on December 5.
Earlier this week, Fazl had warned that it would hold Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja responsible if the party’s workers came under attack during electioneering.
Fazl’s remarks came after the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the caretaker government to ensure timely elections, warning against any delay in the polls slated for February 8, 2024.
Condemning the attack on the JUI-F chief, party leader Hafiz Hamdullah termed the incident as a nefarious move to prevent the party from taking part in the electoral process.
“We have been saying how elections can be held in such [law and order] situation,” Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said maintaining that the incident raises questions on the caretaker government’s ability to provide security.
Reacting to the incident, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the attack on Fazl’s convoy and expressed relief over the politico’s safety.
Meanwhile, the secretary interior, taking notice of the incident, has sought report from the relevant officials on the matter.
It is pertinent to know that the party has suffered major losses due to being in the crosshairs of banned outfits over the years.
In September, senior JUI-F leader Hafiz Hamdullah was injured in a blast — that wounded 10 others — in Balochistan’s Mastung area.
Meanwhile, in July at least 40 JUI-F workers were killed in a suicide blast that targeted the party’s workers’ convention in Bajaur’s Khar.
Pakistan has witnessed an alarming surge in terror incidents in the outgoing year, reaching the highest level since 2014.
Geo News reported citing the data gathered by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), KP has bore the brunt of these attacks, reporting 23 instances that resulted in 254 fatalities and 512 injuries.
The province, along with newly merged districts (NMD), experienced 13 suicide attacks, leading to 85 deaths and 206 injuries.
With such a worrying law and order situation, the Election Commission of Pakistan has sought the help of the Pakistan Army, due to a shortfall of 270,000 police personnel, to ensure the law and order situation during the upcoming general elections.
In its letter to the Ministry of Interior, the ECP called for the services of the Pakistan Army and civil armed forces (CAFs) to be “requisitioned in static mode”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)