Asfandyar Wali Khan, the leader of Pakistan's secular Awami National Party (ANP) demanded direct action against Taliban sanctuaries Sunday, in the wake of his his colleague Bashir Ahmed Bilour's death by a suicide bomber.
Bilour and nine others, including his personal secretary and a senior police official, were killed late Saturday night after a bomber targeted an ANP gathering in Dhaki Nalbandi, according to the International News. Eighteen others were injured.
“We must go after their sanctuaries,” Khan said in a television address. “Whether anyone stands with us or not, we have to fight this mind set.”
"If terrorists were not ready for talks, decisive actions should be taken against their safe heavens in tribal areas," he added, according to the Nation.
The ANP leader also said he will meet with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and urge him to go after the militants, ABC News reported.
Khan is the first Pakistani official to openly articulate the request for direct targeting of Taliban sanctuaries, which has been frequently made by the United States, according to ABC News.
KPK Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain also said that Pakistan's government should step up its battle against the Taliban, the Nation reported.
“I salute Bashir Bilour," he said, adding that the politician had repeatedly been threatened by terrorists. "He sacrificed himself for the country and he fought against militants."
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