The two weeks leading up to elections have seen a total of about seven attacks on political rallies and leaders. More than 150 people have been killed in these attacks. Sadly, the pattern of pre-election bloodshed has not been broken. The magnitude and casualties haven’t been as bad as in 2013 elections, but the fact remains that elections have turned bloody yet again. Here is a list of all the localities where these incidents occurred and some details of what happened:
1) Razmak, North Waziristan
On July 3rd, an unidentified attacker threw a grenade at a politician’s campaign headquarters: PTI candidate Malik Aurangzeb Khan’s to be exact. It was the day of the headquarters’ inauguration. 10 people were injured.
2) Takhti Khel, KP
The attack was aimed at a Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) party campaign taking place on July 7th. Reportedly, explosives were planted on a bike close to the vehicle of party leader Malik Sherein. Seven people were injured, including Sherein himself. It seems this story hasn’t received as much attention online as others, perhaps owing to the fact that the MMA is a far-right wing party.
3) Peshawar, KP
On July 10th, leader of Awami National Party Haroon Bilour and 19 other people were killed in a suicide blast. It happened just as Bilour had reached his party’s rally and was about to deliver an address. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for this particular atrocity.
4) Bannu, KP
An explosion on 12th July killed 4 and injured 32 at a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F; the ‘F’ representing leader Fazlur Rehman) rally. The main representative Akram Khan Durrani was not hurt. Former provincial chief minister Durrani is contesting elections in Bannu against Imran Khan.
5) Mastung, Balochistan
This has been by far the deadliest attack: casualties amounted to 129. It was aimed at a rally taking place on July 13th in the district of Mastung, towards the south of Quetta, by the Balochistan Awami Party. Party leader, Siraj Raisani, died in the attack. The political was vying for a seat in the provincial assembly and was a great favorite of the people.
6) Chaman, Balochistan
The Awami National Party was targeted again on July 16th after Haroon Bilour was killed just six days previously. Leader Daud Khan Achakzai was fired at by ‘unknown militants’, sustaining injuries on his arm. He was reportedly staying at a guesthouse at the time.
7) Dera Ismail Khan, KP
The latest attack in this series of terrorist acts happened on July 22nd. PTI candidate Sardar Ikram Khan Gandapur was critically injured and passed away at a hospital not too long after.
People are now asking the inevitable question: where are the country’s security agencies amidst all this?
Army representative General Asif Ghafoor has expressed concern over the attacks:
However, it is not enough to just tweet about the matter. The public needs some solid assurance in the form of action being taken. Unfortunately, we are only now two days away from elections. All focus will be on the smooth conduction of the voting process. That’s the thing with politics: everyone just has to keep moving forward.