KP minister’s son shot dead
By Waseem Ahmad Shah
PESHAWAR: The only son of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain was gunned down and his friend injured in their ancestral town of Pabbi, Nowshera district, on Saturday evening.
Mian Rashid Hussain, 27, and his friend Mian Amjid Hussain, were taking a walk in Khan Sher Garhi along the Grand Trunk Road when the attackers sprayed them with bullets, according to wit- nesses.
It was not clear as to who was behind the assassination, but the immediate suspicion fell on militants, especially Taliban.
The minister has been vocal in his attacks on militants and leading the charge in the media campaign despite receiving threats to his life.
“It is clearly a targeted killing,” a police official said. “The family has had no blood feud, so who else could be behind the killing. We will investigate the case, but my gut feeling is that it is the work of the militants.”
The fugitive head of the Swat Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, in a recent video address to what was shown to be a group of suicide bombers, told them to attack the military and the ANP. “Even if some innocent lives are lost, the religion allows it,” he said.
Fazlullah fled the military operation in Swat and is believed to be hiding in Afghanistans Nooristan province.
Hundreds of workers of the ruling Awami National Party have been killed in attacks widely attributed to its stand against militants.
Mian Rashid was pronounced dead in the Pabbi Satellite Hospital while Mian Amjid was admitted to Peshawars Lady Reading Hospital in a critical condition.
The funeral will be held on Sunday in Pabbi, 20kms east of Peshawar.
Police laid a cordon around the area after the attack, but did not arrest anyone.
“We heard some gunshots and rushed towards that spot. When we reached there we saw Rashid in pool of blood,” Majid Khan, a friend of the minister’s son, said.
He quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the attackers were on motorcycle.
Asfandyar Wali Khan, the ANP chief, described the assassination as an act of cowardice. “This will not weaken our resolve,” he said by telephone from Karachi where he is undergoing medical tests.
Mian Rashid was serving in the Peshawar Development Authority’s Building Control Agency as an administrative officer.
He had worked as an intern at Dawn’s Peshawar Bureau for a few months in 2006 at his father’s prodding.
A soft spoken person like his father, Rashid had a flair for literature and indulged in writing poetry in English.
Family friends said that despite threats to his father from militants, the deceased continued with his routine life and was never seen with security guards around him.
The body was taken to his ancestral home after autopsy.
The news of his death spread quickly and people from different areas rushed to the hospital in Pabbi and then to the home of Main Iftikhar who initially tried to keep his poise but burst into tears when his close friends were consoling him.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan ordered an inquiry into the incident. The killing was condemned by President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, MQM leader Altaf Hussain and a large number of other leaders.
ANP’s provincial chief Afrasiab Khattak, provincial ministers Bashir Ahmad Bilour and Syed Aqil Shah and other leaders also reached Mian Iftikhar’s home.
Mian Iftikhar has become a familiar face in the ongoing operations against militants and be is often seen visiting different areas after terrorist attacks.