Saturday, October 04, 2008

Asfandyar Wali survives suicide attack

Asfandyar survives suicide attack
The News, October 04, 2008
By Javed Aziz Khan & Sabz Ali Tareen

PESHAWAR/CHARSADDA: Three inquiry committees have been constituted to probe into a suicide blast at Wali Bagh on Thursday, second day of Eidul Fitr, in which four persons were killed and 18 others injured.

The additional inspector general (AdIG) investigation, NWFP, is heading the high-level inquiry committee, while one is being headed by the SP investigation, Charsadda, and another by a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The experts of the FIA and police examined the site of the blast and sent the specimen of the body of the suicide bomber for a DNA test. At least four persons were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Hujra of Asfandyar Wali Khan, President of the ANP, who was the target of the attacker at Wali Bagh, Charsadda.

Those who were killed included a police official Shabbir Ahmad, gunman of the ANP president Yar Zameen, a poet and officer of a local bank Fazal Ghani and a party worker from Buner Shamsuzzaman, who were laid to rest at their respective hometowns amid moving scenes.

The ANP chief remained unhurt despite he was hardly 12 feet away from the bomber, when his brave gunman, Yar Zameen, embraced the attacker in a bid to stop him after he was coming straight to Asfandyar Wali amid bullets being fired at him from different sides.

“He forced his entry into the Hujra just when a group of 30 to 35 people were going out. He was between us and the cops that is why the policemen on main gate could not open fire on him. However, those at the side fired at him but he remained unhurt as I could saw only dust billowing from his body when it sustain any bullet,” Asfandyar Wali told newsmen.

He added that during the firing the attacker came close to the veranda. “At that time Yar Zameen opened fire on him and when it also did not work he embraced him and threw him on the ground before he came over the attacker who then blew himself up,” the ANP chief said while showering praise on his brave security guard whose body was reduced to pieces.

Asfandyar Wali made it clear that the ANP would not change its policies due to these attacks. “I must make one thing clear that if somebody thinks that we, the followers of the philosophy of Bacha Khan and Wali Khan, could be stopped from the way that we have opted to take, he is mistaken. We will sacrifice our lives for this soil but will never give it up to the terrorists,” the nationalist leader said.

Asfandyar Wali and his family were shifted to Islamabad in helicopter after the tragic incident. There were already threats to the life of the ANP chief and other stalwarts of the party since terrorists were operating in various parts of the Frontier province.

Strictest security arrangements were made at the Wali Bagh for Eidul Fitr as thousands were expected to visit the venue to condole with the family over the death of Sangeen Wali Khan. A walk-through scanner was also installed on the main gate.

However, the bomber made his way to the veranda despite all the security measures. According to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), NWFP, Malik Naveed, police had made strict security arrangements and that was why the attacker could not cause more damage or casualties.

“It was a pillar of the Chopal (a straw-made shade) that protected Asfandyar Wali. He was not going to run or lay down on the ground when all the other persons sitting in the veranda secured their lives either by laying down on ground or rushing away from the Chopal,” an eyewitness told The News.

He added that a police officer requested the ANP chief to duck down on the ground for cover but he refused. There were reports that the bomber, who was wearing a bullet-proof jacket, fell on the ground for a while after suffering a bullet in his leg but he again started running towards the ANP leader.

Also See:
Asfandyar unfazed after suicide attack - Dawn
Red Cross: Pakistan "is now a war zone" - The Seattle Times
‘Asfandyar’s murder would have triggered civil war’ - Daily Times

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