The people of Pakistan are just weeks away from achieving a historical election — whatever the result. The Pakistani Taliban do not like this, not one bit. If a government is successfully elected in the general election on the 11th of May, it will be first time Pakistan has ever successfully peacefully transitioned between two elected governments. To give you a sense of how momentus this could be, the forthcoming election will be the 11th general election for Pakistan since 1962.
One man who sadly won’t get to see this happen is Fakhrul Islam. A 46-year-old grocer from the southern city of Hyderabad, Kakrul was a candidate for the secular (in this case, meaning “not representing Islam”) Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), part of the outgoing coalition government which has previously been threatened by Pakistan’s Taliban. He is the first candidate to be killed in current election campaign.
He was killed by gunmen on motorcycles when he left the shop he owned with his father, police said. The Taliban immediately claimed (ir)responsibility for the attack. In response Pakistan’s interim prime minister, Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, ordered an immediate tightening of security for all candidates.A spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban said:
The killing is part of our war with secular parties including MQM, Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party, which committed genocide of our tribal people and Muslims while remaining in power for five years.
In recent propaganda video, Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has told Pakistanis to stay away from the elections:
We are not in favor of democracy, democracy is for Jews and Christians. They are intended to divide Muslims, we want the implementation of Sharia law and for that jihad is necessary.
The Pakistani Taliban have warned parties and politicians who have been part of the outgoing government that they are targets for attack.