Israr Gandapur was killed in his home as he greeted residents of his home village who had come to celebrate the holiday. More than 30 people were wounded in the attack, including Gandapur’s elder brother, said Irfan Mahsud, the assistant commissioner in the city of Dera Ismail Khan.
“I saw so many dead people and injured people crying for help,” said eyewitness Haseeb Khan, whose new white holiday clothes were drenched in blood. “There were arms, legs and heads everywhere.” It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.
Gandapur was killed in his home village of Kulachi, about 31 miles west of Dera Ismail Khan. He was local chief and the law minister for the northern Khyber Pakutunkhwa province, the heartland of the Taliban.
The province is ruled by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, a party led by former cricketer Imran Khan, which favors peace talks with the Taliban. Gandapur is the most senior member of the party to have been killed so far.
The Taliban have said they are open to talks. But they also say they will not disarm, do not recognize the Pakistani constitution, and will not talk to the government until the army pulls back from their strongholds and all their prisoners are released.