Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), narrowly escaped an attack on his convoy in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Sunday, as reported by Geo News.
The incident occurred at the Yarik interchange while Rehman was traveling through Dera Ismail Khan, near a toll plaza.
The convoy was reportedly fired upon from multiple directions. Mufti Abrar, the party’s spokesperson, confirmed the attack to Geo News, assuring that Rehman was safe following the incident.
Contradicting this report, Rehman’s brother told Geo News that the JUI-F chief was at home during the incident, adding that the convoy had stopped for refueling near the Yarik interchange when the event occurred.
This attack follows repeated concerns raised by Rehman about the security situation in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, impacting the staging of polls. “There is no police in Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, and Lakki Marwat. Can polls be conducted in such a situation of unrest?” Rehman questioned in a December 5 press conference in Islamabad.
Earlier in the week, Rehman warned that the party would hold Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja responsible if JUI-F workers were attacked during election campaigns. This came after the Supreme Court ordered the caretaker government to ensure timely elections, scheduled for February 8, 2024.
Hafiz Hamdullah, a JUI-F leader, condemned the attack, describing it as a tactic to hinder the party’s participation in the elections. “How can elections be held in such a law and order situation?” questioned Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, raising concerns about the caretaker government’s ability to provide security.
Shehbaz Sharif, President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), also condemned the attack and expressed relief over Rehman’s safety.
In response to the incident, the secretary of interior has requested a report from relevant officials.
The party has faced significant threats over the years, being targeted by banned outfits and suffering major losses.