Rehan Zeb Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed candidate for NA-8 (Bajaur) and PK-22 (Bajaur-IV), was shot dead on Wednesday in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district while campaigning for the Feb. 8 elections.
“We strongly condemn the target killing of a young leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Rehan Zeb, and stand with [his] family in this hour of sorrow,” the PTI said in a posting on X confirming the killing. Calling on Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa to take notice of the “target killing,” as well as the explosion at a PTI rally in Sibi a day earlier, it said the interim governments must be directed to “wake from their slumber,” and apprehend and prosecute the culprits.
“The fact that [PTI] candidates and public gatherings have been targeted by terrorist acts is a big question mark on the credibility and transparency of the elections,” it said, lamenting that the caretaker governments were failing in their responsibility to ensure protection of electoral candidates. It further claimed the violence was aimed at creating an atmosphere of fear and forcing candidates to withdraw from the elections.
According to local police, Rehan was campaigning in the Sadiqabad Phatak Bazar area of Bajaur when unidentified assailants opened fired on him. He was subsequently rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. They said four other individuals were also injured in the attack.
Taking notice of the killing, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said it had learnt of the killing of a candidate from NA-8. In a statement, it said, it had sought a report from the KP chief secretary and police chief, and sought punishment for the culprits responsible.