Seven decades of political assassinations in Pakistan

by IANS |

Islamabad, Nov 4 (IANS) October 16, 1951, stands out in the history of Pakistan as a date when the first Prime Minister of the country, Liaquat Ali Khan, was shot dead during a public rally in Rawalpindis Company Gardens.

The bullets fired in 1951 at the Company Gardens, later renamed Liaquat Bagh, led to the first major assassination but, unfortunately, it was not the last attempt as PTI chairman and former premier Imran Khan has become the latest to join the long list of politicians, who have faced such attacks, The Express Tribune reported.

The shootings and terrorist attacks that have continued with frequent intervals for more than seven decades took the lives of several politicians, including former premier Benazir Bhutto, her brother Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Gujrat's Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi, Punjab's former home minister Shuja Khanzada and former minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti.

Several others, including Khyber-Pakhthunkhwa (K-P) Assembly member and ANP's Bashir Ahmed Bilour and his son Haroon Bilour; religious scholar and former senator Maulana Samiul Haq; MQM's Syed Ali Raza Abidi; and PTI's Sardar Soran Singh were also killed in such attacks.

Just like Imran Khan, PML-N's incumbent Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has also survived an assassination attempt.

Benazir Bhutto was murdered on December 27, 2007 by a suicide bomber after she had just finished an election rally in Rawalpindi.

Her brother was shot dead along with six associates in a police encounter near his home in Karachi on September 20, 1996, during her tenure, The Express Tribune reported.

Zahoor Elahi was assassinated in Lahore in 1981 by Al-Zulfikar, reportedly, by a terrorist organisation led by Murtaza Bhutto. It claimed responsibility for the attack.

Khanzada was assassinated in a suicide attack at his political office in Shadikhan, Attock on August 16, 2015. A militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, had claimed responsibility for his murder.

On March 2, 2011, gunmen had killed Bhatti, who spoke about blasphemy law and championed the rights of the country's beleaguered minorities.

A suicide blast in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar had killed K-P senior minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour along with eight others in December 2012. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for that blast.

His son was killed in a suicide bombing during a party meeting in Peshawar on July 10, 2018.

Maulana Samiul Haq, who was known as the "Father of Taliban" for the role his seminary Darul Uloom Haqqania played, was killed at his residence in Rawalpindi in November 2018, The Express Tribune reported.

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