PTI Candidate (Independent) Rehan Zeb Khan Shot dead in Pakistan

Rehan Zeb Khan, an independent candidate in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district, was fatally shot on Wednesday as the February 8 polls approached. Present in Sadiqabad Phatak Bazar for his election campaign, Khan fell victim to unidentified assailants who opened fire, resulting in his immediate death.

This tragic incident occurs against the backdrop of escalating terrorist attacks, particularly in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces in recent months. With more than 128 million voters, concerns have arisen regarding the country’s deteriorating security situation, prompting some lawmakers to request a poll delay due to security threats.

In response to the attack, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has called for a report from the provincial chief secretary and Inspector General Police (IGP), urging stern action against the perpetrators. Concurrently, the Awami National Party (ANP) faced an attack in Balochistan’s Chaman city, resulting in the death of party worker Zahoor Ahmed during electioneering activities in the PB-50 constituency.

Additionally, a hand grenade attack targeted the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) election office in Quetta’s Sariab Road, leaving three people injured. The PPP’s election office in Kalat and the house of leader Zahoor Buledi in Kech were also attacked with hand grenades, fortunately causing no injuries.

The incidents add to a growing pattern of violence during election campaigns, as evidenced by the recent blast at the former ruling party’s rally in Balochistan’s Sibi, which claimed four lives. The month of January has been particularly grim for election hopefuls, with Rehan Zeb Khan becoming the latest independent candidate to lose his life, following the previous killings of Shah Khalid in Swabi district and Kaleemullah Khan in North Waziristan.

The former ruling party has issued a statement urging authorities to ensure the safety and security of its candidates and to bring those responsible for these heinous attacks to justice. Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan has intensified its efforts to address the situation, seeking reports and directing authorities to take decisive action against the attackers.

Rehan Zeb Khan, the independent candidate tragically shot dead in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district, had previously been associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Before deciding to contest the elections independently, Khan had been a candidate affiliated with the PTI, contributing to the party’s political landscape in the region. His transition from a PTI candidate to an independent contestant adds a layer of complexity to the unfolding events and raises questions about the dynamics within the political sphere.