A provincial minister of the Awami National Party (ANP), Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed in a suicide blast in Peshawar on Saturday evening along with seven others. Eighteen people sustained injuries in the explosion in the Qissa Qhwani Bazaar area of the city.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack and is reported to have told journalists that it would continue to target the ANP, the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – three parties which have taken strong positions against terrorism.
Billed as an unrelenting voice against terrorism, Mr. Bilour was targeted outside his residence and succumbed to his injuries on the operating table at Lady Reading Hospital. Among the dead were his personal secretary and the area SHO. On Friday, Mr. Bilour had spoken out yet again against terrorism; maintaining that the fight should go on till the finish. "This is our war. We have to fight it. We will die and we will kill but we will overcome," he had told journalists.
He is the brother of Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour who had made international headlines earlier this year when he announced a bounty for anyone who killed the director of the anti-Islam film `Innocence of Muslims’.
Speaking to the media immediately after the attack, provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain – who has lost his only son to a terrorist attack – said: "We have to take the fight to the terrorists. We need to finish them in their bases."
The past week has seen a surge in terrorist attacks across the country including a rocket attack on Peshawar airport along with a bid to breach the premises besides killing of at least nine persons involved in the polio immunization programme.
As always, the attack triggered a wave of revulsion across social media platforms even as there was a quiet acknowledgement of the relentless manner in which voices against terrorism were being silenced.