The Awami National Party, ANP, led provincial government (2008- 2013) of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province came under relentless Taliban terror attacks. The Pashtun nationalist ANP lost over seven hundred workers, activists, supporters and their family members, including legislators. One of the assassinated legislators is Bashir Bilour (1943-2012).
Bilour, an ANP stalwart educated as a lawyer and a resident of Peshawar, was representing a Peshawar constituency in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly. At the time of his assassination in a Taliban terror attack in December 2012, he was a senior minister in the provincial government. He was one of the main targets of the Taliban who had already made four unsuccessful attempts on his life. Their fifth attempt succeeded when he was assassinated in an ANP’s political gathering in the heart of Peshawar city where he was addressing a gathering of people.
Bilour symbolized the anti-Taliban stance of the ANP. At the time when few in Pakistan could openly question the Taliban, Bilour did so vocally. Despite threats to his life, he never restricted his public activities and especially made sure to be among the people on the sites of terror attacks in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Bilour was a brave person and the Taliban must have been very concerned about his possible anti-Taliban influence on people as a non-violent symbol opposing the Taliban violence. They had to kill him to demoralize those who might have been inspired by his anti-Taliban stance. His assassination was Taliban’s message that whosoever speaks out against them would be silenced forever. This assassination is a great loss to the ANP and a setback for peace in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa.
May Bashir Bilour rest in peace!
It is unfortunate that his ultimate sacrifice has so far failed to inspire as much anti-Taliban spirit among Sunni Pashtuns as LaiqHussain’s assassination did among the Shia Pashtuns of Kurram.
By Dr. Farhat Taj
This tribute is from Dr. Farhat Taj’s book, The Real Pashtun Question: How Can Religious Extremism, Misogyny and Pedophilia Be Controlled? The book is published by Kautilya, New Delhi, and is coming out in January 2017.
THE PASHTUN TIMES