CHAKDARA: Six people, including the brother of a former provincial minister, were killed when unidentified gunmen stormed the hujra of a leader of the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) in the Gulabad village in Chakdara in Lower Dir district on Monday, on the night before Eidul Fitr, local news agencies said on Thursday.
The sources said the gunmen barged into the Hujra of Bakht Baidar Khan, a former provincial minister and a member of provincial assembly affiliated with the Aftab Sherpao-led QWP, and gathered all the people in a room. Among them was Bakht Baidar’s brother Mohammad Ishaq, a former union council Nazim. The armed men, the sources said, opened fire and killed six people on the spot. One person was injured in the firing. The accused fled after committing the crime. It was learnt that Bakht Baidar Khan was in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah when the incident took place.
Talking to reporters after his arrival from Saudi Arabia here on Thursday, Bakht Baidar condemned the killings and said it was an act of terrorism.The slain people included Bakht Baidar’s brother Mohammad Ishaq, Zahid Khan, Qari Kifayatullah, Mustaqeem Khan, Mursaleen Khan and Javed Khan. The QWP head Aftab Sherpao, Jamaat-e-Islamichief Sirajul Haq, political workers and thousands of locals attended the funeral prayers of the slain persons. The Nimaz-e-Janaza was led by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) provincial head Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan.
The late Mohammad Ishaq had entered politics in 2002. He contested the 2002 general elections for both the National Assembly and provincial assembly seats, but lost. At the time Bakht Baidar, who isn’t a graduate, couldn’t contest the polls due to the condition of graduation.
Mohammad Ishaq also took part in the local government elections and was elected nazim of Tazagram Union Council. He later lost election for a provincial assembly seat by only 536 votes.
Mohammad Ishaq was an active political worker and had a down-to-earth personality. He left behind a widow, three daughters and a son.Meanwhile, people continued to throng the residence of Bakht Baidar to offer condolences over the death of his brother and supporters. Those who showed up included QWP leaders Aftab Sherpao and Sikandar Sherpao, JI head Sirajul Haq and JUI-F’s Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan.
Bakht Baidar briefly served as provincial minister in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition government in the province after the May 2013 general election. He and another QWP minister Ibrar Hussain were sacked by Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak on the directives of his party head, Imran Khan, on corruption charges. Subsequently, the third QWP minister Sikandar Sherpao resigned from the cabinet and the party quit the PTI-headed coalition government. Bakht Baidar took Imran Khan to the court for damaging his reputation. The case is still being heard in a court in Peshawar.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan condemned the attack. In a condolence message, he expressed confidence that those involved in the heinous crime would be brought to justice. He offered sympathies to members of the bereaved families and also prayed for the eternal peace of the departed souls.