Peshawar, Pakistan — Gunmen killed 11 people including a prominent local politician in northwest Pakistan, police said Tuesday, an ambush blamed on a decades-long vendetta between families. Inter-family feuds are common in Pakistan, but in the mountainous northwestern region where communities abide by traditional tribal honor codes they can be particularly protracted and violent.
Police said 42-year-old Atif Munsif Khan, leader of a district council in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was killed Monday night in the town of Havelian, 20 miles north of Islamabad.
District police official Omar Tufail told AFP that “up to five people opened fire from two sides” on a vehicle carrying Khan and 10 others, including bodyguards and a police escort, “killing them all on the spot.”
“The vehicle caught fire as a result and all on board were burned alive and the charred bodies are now beyond recognition,” he said.
Tufail said the Khan family registered a police complaint “blaming the assassination on their rivals” in a feud “said to be almost five decades old,” which also claimed the life of Khan’s father and grandfather.
“Dozens of people from both sides have been killed as a result of this family feud so far,” he added.
Another local senior police official, Sajid Tanoli, confirmed the incident and ruled out the involvement of militant groups such as the Pakistan Taliban which have long thrived in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Khan was a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by former prime minister Imran Khan, although the men were not related.
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