By Faiz Muhammad
CHARSADDA, Oct 3: Investigators probing into the attack on Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan in Walibagh on Thursday have claimed to have found important clues which could lead to the group behind the suicide bombing. Five people were killed in the attack.
“We have two leads and we are looking into both. It will take three to four days before we say anything with authority,” Additional Inspector General (Investigation) Safwat Ghayyur told Dawn on Friday.
According to him, the suicide bomber, of medium height and in his late 20s, charged towards the ANP leader who was exchanging Eid greetings with activists of his party in his ancestral Walibagh.
“I was there in my hujra and receiving Eid greetings. I had seen off about thirty-five people, when I saw this bomber running towards me,” Mr Khan told reporters.
“Policemen were firing at the bomber but there were only specks of dust. My bodyguard got hold of him and then there was a big explosion,” he said, adding that bombings could not deter him or his party from pursuing the policy of working for peace in the region.
The AIG said: “When the bomber was being frisked, he pulled himself away and started running towards Mr Asfandyar Wali. The Special Branch fired at him and that caused commotion.”The policemen and Mr Khan’s personal bodyguard also fired at the bomber.
The bomber is said to have received eight shots but that didn’t slow him down. He said it appeared that the man had been drugged and he did not feel any pain. “At one stage, he fell but got up again.”
Mr Khan’s bodyguard then shot at his forehead and as the bomber fell he detonated the bomb.
The investigators said the bomber was only 14 feet away when he started running towards Mr Khan but ANP activists sensed the danger and him inside the house.
The blast left five people dead, including the bodyguard, police constable Shabir Khan, ANP’s Buner district deputy president Shamsuzzaman Khan and bank officer Fazal Ghani.
Mr Khan and his family were flown to Islamabad immediately after the incident. Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and senior ANP leaders, who had rushed to the place, saw him off.
Body parts of the bomber have been sent to a lab for DNA test.
The explosion was so powerful that ears of the bomber were found about 200 meters away from the blast site.A team of FIA and the investigation branch of the NWFP police held differing views over the type of chemicals used in the bombing.
The FIA believed that it was a low-intensity phosphate/nitrate mix, but the police department said the suicide vest was made of plastic explosives.
The bomber had used a manual trigger which, according to the investigation team, was widely used in suicide bombings in the neighbouring Mohmand tribal region.
The group involved in two suicide attacks on former interior minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao in Charsadda was also linked to Mohmand Agency. But the investigators said it would be premature to say which group was involved.
“The manual mechanism used in the bombing points to links with Mohmand and not with Swat where suicide bombers use electronic circuitry,” an official said.
So far no arrest has been made.