The family that lost six members to blast targeting Haroon Bilour

The family that lost six members to blast targeting Haroon Bilour

ISLAMABAD: Every house on Madina Street, where an ANP corner meeting was attacked on July 10, has someone either dead or injured.

This is where Siraj Gul lives. He lost his father, a brother and three cousins in the suicide attack that took the lives of at least 13 people, including ANP candidate Haroon Bilour. For Gul, the agony of not knowing whether his 12-year-old nephew was alive only added to the pain of losing five other family members.

The family had spent the whole day burying their dead and searching for the missing boy, Wahab, in hospitals and police stations when the phone rang. It was a doctor from Lady Reading Hospital. “They asked us to go there and collect parts of Wahab’s body,” Gul says of the harrowing experience.

Gul says that almost all men in his family were at the gathering to welcome Bilour. “We thought peace had returned to the city so we did not make any security arrangements,” Gul’s relative Asif adds.

According to the Yakatoot police station, which is only 20 meters from the street where the attack took place, several ANP leaders and workers have been killed in bomb blasts and target killings in this neighbourhood. In 2013, Haroon Bilour’s uncle, Haji Ghulam Bilour, was injured in a bomb blast just 100 meters from the site of this attack.

The party has lost over 750 leaders and workers to terrorism since 2008.

The area, which is considered an ANP stronghold, has also seen the highest number of raids conducted by law enforcement agencies.

Residents of the area say that the police should have taken measures since the National Counter Terrorism Department has already issued warnings about the threat to leaders of political parties.

However, a senior police official from Yakatoot police station says that no threat alert was issued by the government. “Otherwise, we would have installed walkthrough gates and taken security measures,” he said.

The KP government has formed a joint investigation team headed by Counter Terrorism Department DIG Khalid Marwat to investigate the attack, while the government has asked every political party to get permission two days before a corner meeting or public gathering is held so that concerned police stations arrange security. APP