Pak Taliban warn people not to participate in general election
Islamabad: The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has distributed pamphlets in several Pakistani cities, including Peshawar and Karachi, warning people not to participate in next month's landmark general election.
Leaflets distributed in several areas of Karachi, the country's largest city, threatened people not to attend political rallies or cast their votes, Dawn News channel reported.
Pamphlets were also distributed at Badabher, Mattani and Adezai areas on the outskirts of Peshawar and at Buner and Swat in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
In Buner, leaflets distributed near a mosque in Shingrai warned local residents against participating in the polls.
The pamphlets warned people that they would be responsible for their lives if they violated the Taliban's ban on voting in the May 11 general election, which will mark the first democratic transition in Pakistan's 66-year history.
Local residents and security personnel confirmed that leaflets were distributed in several areas of the restive northwest.
They said the pamphlets contained threats similar to those made by the Taliban during elections in 2008.
Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan was quoted as saying that his organisation considered democracy as "un-Islamic" and the "agenda of secular forces in Pakistan".
He said the Taliban were opposed to democracy.
Ihsan said the Taliban would continue its fight against "secular forces and governments which were backed by secular countries".
The Taliban had earlier warned that they would target leaders and election rallies of secular parties like the Pakistan People's Party, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
The Taliban gunned down a MQM candidate in the southern city of Hyderabad while about 20 people were killed when a suicide bomber recently targeted a ANP meeting in Peshawar.
In 2008, the Taliban had carried out a suicide attack in Buner during by-elections for a parliamentary seat. At least 45 people were killed and 150 injured in that attack.