MIRANSHAH: Gunmen shot dead a pro-government tribal elder and two others on Thursday in a drive-by shooting in a restive tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said.
The Chashma Pul area, five kilometres south of Miranshah – the main town in North Waziristan – is known as a stronghold of Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants.
“Malik Qadir Khan was travelling to his village when four gunmen riding a car opened fire on his vehicle, killing him and two others,” a local administration official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
He said Khan’s guard opened retaliatory fire, killing one of the attackers before fleeing. A local intelligence official confirmed the attack.
Nobody immediately claimed responsibility but attacks on pro-government tribal elders by militants across northwest Pakistan and the lawless tribal belt are not uncommon. Washington calls the area the most dangerous place in the world.
The latest attack comes two weeks after the Pakistani Taliban formally ended a ceasefire called to promote peace talks. On April 16, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said it would not extend a ceasefire it began on March 1 as part of peace talks with the government aimed at ending the militants’ bloody seven-year insurgency.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government began negotiations with TTP through intermediaries in February to try to bring peace.
Since the TTP rose up against the Pakistani state in 2007, more than 6,800 people have been killed in bomb and gun attacks around Pakistan, according to an AFP tally.
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