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Pakistan: Judge kidnapped in restive northwest — reports

April 28, 2024

Armed men on motorbikes ambushed the senior judge in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police cordon off the area and take security measures around the damaged van after a suicide attack in Karachi in April 2024
Pakistan has seen a rise in attacks lately, including a suicide bombing in Karachi which targeted a convoy of foreign nationals Image: Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu/picture alliance

Armed assailants kidnapped a senior judge in Pakistan's restive northwest, news media reported on Sunday, as the county experiences a surge in violence.

Some 15 men on motorbikes stopped the vehicle of Judge Shakirullah Marwat, according to officials cited by the AP news agency.

He was ambushed en route to the Dera Ismail Khan district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the agency said. The assaliants set his car on fire and fled with him, leaving his driver behind, unharmed.

The police has launched a rescue operation, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported. It cited a police official as saying that security personnel cordoned off the area to ensure the judge's safe return.

Growing violence in Pakistan's northwest

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the province is a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Recently, the militants have intensified their attacks on security personnel and infrastructure, but targeting officials of Marwat's seniority level is unusual.

Since the TTP ended a cease-fire with Pakistan's central government in November 2022, the country has witnessed a surge in violence.

The Dera Ismail Khan district has grown particularly dangerous, with escalating attacks on security forces. Last week, gunmen opened fire at customs officials, killing two and wounding three others.

Pakistan faces surge in militant violence

rmt/fb (AP, DW sources)