A candidate running in Pakistan’s upcoming general elections was shot and killed during a campaign event on Wednesday, as reported by local police.
This incident is likely to heighten concerns among political leaders about the increasing threat of militant attacks, potentially jeopardizing the scheduled Feb. 8 polls, according to Reuters.
The attack resulted in the loss of three lives, including Malik Kaleem Ullah, who was running as an independent candidate for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly. The identity of the perpetrators remains unknown, as no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rohan Zaib Khan, the police chief of North Waziristan, said that the victim, Malik Kaleem Ullah, was engaged in door-to-door campaigning when the attack took place, as reported by Reuters.
On the same day, another candidate, Mir Aslam Buledi, representing the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) for the National Assembly from Balochistan, was seriously injured in an armed assault according to Deputy Commissioner for Turbat, Hassan Jan Baloch.
Pakistan’s general elections had previously been scheduled for Feb. 8 after experiencing several delays. However, last week, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution proposing a further postponement of the elections. The resolution cited security concerns and harsh winter conditions in the northern regions as reasons for the delay, according to the report.
Militant groups, to overthrow the government and implement their version of strict Islamic law in Pakistan, have intensified their attacks since terminating a ceasefire agreement with the government in late 2022.
Pakistan, a predominantly Muslim country with a population of 241 million people, is facing significant challenges on both political and economic fronts, making the security situation a critical concern for the upcoming elections.
As the elections approach, the Pakistani government will need to address these security threats to ensure the safety of candidates and voters, while also maintaining the democratic process in the country.