A PTI-affiliated independent candidate was shot dead in the Siddiqabad area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district on Wednesday, according to police.
The incident comes a day after four people were killed while six were wounded in a bomb blast at a PTI rally in Balochistan’s Sibi.
Khar Police Station House Officer (SHO) Rasheed Khan said Rehan Zeb Khan was canvassing in the area when unidentified armed men opened fire on his vehicle.
The cop said Rehan was taken to the District Headquarters Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. According to the SHO, four other people were also injured in the attack.
Bajaur District Police Officer Kashif Zulfiqar told media.com that the incident appeared to be a “targeted killing”. He said that law enforcement authorities were conducting a search operation in the area.
Meanwhile, the PTI said Rehan was a “party-backed candidate for a National Assembly seat” and strongly condemned the killing. It said that the fact that PTI-affiliated candidates and public gatherings were being targeted by “terrorist attacks” raised a “big question mark” on the fairness of polls.
“After the attack on PTI’s election rally in Sibi, the responsibility for the killing of the [party-backed] National Assembly candidate is on the incompetent caretaker government,” the party said.
The party demanded an immediate probe into the attack, adding that those responsible should be punished. It further stated that security should be provided to all PTI-backed candidates participating in the polls and called on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take notice of the incident.
It alleged that the caretaker government was focused on bringing one particular political party to power instead of discharging its constitutional responsibilities.
In a separate post, the party called on the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of today’s incident as well as yesterday’s blast at a PTI rally in Sibi.
PTI’s Hammad Azhar said that Rehan symbolised the country’s youth. Hammad said Rehan had wanted a better future for the people and was struggling in this regard.
The ECP also took notice of the killing. Although it did not name Rehan, it said that it had taken notice of the killing of a candidate from NA-8 Bajaur.
The electoral watchdog sought a report from the KP chief secretary and police chief and directed that those responsible be punished.
Separately, in a media talk later in the day, the caretaker chief minister of KP said the provincial government was prepared for the upcoming general elections but at the same time admitted that there were security concerns in some areas.
He also directed the provincial police chief to prepare a report on today’s incident within three days.
Five injured in grenade attack on PPP election office in Quetta
Separately, five people were injured in a grenade attack on the PPP’s election office.
Sariab Superintendent of Police (SP) Shafqat Janjua said that according to preliminary investigations, unknown motorcyclists threw the grenade at the PPP office in Gahi Khan Chowk area of Quetta.
The grenade rebounded off a car parked outside the election office and exploded upon hitting the ground, the official said. He added that five people, including a PPP candidate, Maddad Jatak, were injured.
According to SP Janjua, the bomb disposal squad and other law enforcement authorities reached the site and began collecting evidence.
In a statement on X, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the attack and prayed for the swift recovery of the injured.
“PPP workers are not afraid of such cowardly attacks,” he said, adding that the ECP should take steps to protect electoral offices.
Additional input from Zahid Imdad