Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Suicide Bomb Near Musharraf's HQ Kills Eight

According to an early report from AFP:
A suicide bomber blew himself up near President Pervez Musharraf's army headquarters in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi on Tuesday, killing five people, officials said.
After this was written, CNN reported that the bomb had killed six.

Even later, Pak Tribune put the death toll at eight.

But AFP had some good early spot-reporting:
"It was a suicide attack. The area is sensitive -- we don't know what the exact target was. Five people were killed," Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, a close aide to Musharraf, told AFP.

The blast happened within a kilometre (half a mile) of Musharraf's military camp office in the city, and was also near the office of the chairman of Pakistan's joint chiefs of staff, witnesses said.

Private television channels said the attack occurred as Musharraf was meeting with top government and provincial officials to discuss the security situation following a spate of recent attacks.

The site was completely cordoned off by security personnel after the blast and journalists were stopped from reaching the area.

Police official Mohammad Tahir said that the bomber was on foot and was stopped by police at a checkpoint in the city. "He then detonated explosives strapped to his body," he said.
CNN had a few more details:
Musharraf, who also serves as Pakistan's military chief, was inside his office at the time of the blast -- which occurred about a mile away, according to police ... He was not injured.

Police said the explosion ripped through an army residential complex in the sprawling military compound in Rawalpindi which is adjacent to Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

The blast happened near the house of Pakistan's newly appointed chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee, Gen. Tariq Majid. It is unclear if he was home at the time.
Pak Tribune had more from behind the scenes:
Islamabad police had received intelligence reports a couple of days back that two-suicide bombers had entered Islamabad and Rawalpindi and were planning to target key military installations as revenge for the army operation in Swat.

Meanwhile President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz have strongly condemned the Suicide bomb attack at Katachari Chowk Rawalpindi and expressed their grave sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives.

In their statements, the President and the Prime Minister have said that the anti-state elements are involved in the suicide blast which are not only enemy of the people but the country.

The President and the Prime Minister have vowed to trace the mastermind of that incident and said that no one would be allowed to create instability in the country, adding that the minority of terrorists and extremism would not be allowed to dominate the majority of moderate forces.
And AFP provided a bit more of the context:
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Rawalpindi, the heart of the country's military establishment, on September 4, killing 25 people. Most of those killed were in a bus taking intelligence officials to work.

The attack also comes less than two weeks after twin suicide attacks in the southern city of Karachi killed 139 people during a procession to welcome former premier Benazir Bhutto home from eight years in exile.

Pakistani officials have implicated Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network in the Karachi blasts, but Bhutto says she believes rogue security and government agents may also have been involved.

Pakistan has suffered a string of attacks since the raid of the pro-Taliban Red Mosque in Islamabad in July, piling pressure on key US ally Musharraf as he struggles with a political crisis ahead of general elections set for January.

Pakistani forces are maintaining a tense ceasefire with a Taliban-style cleric in the northwestern Swat Valley, once a thriving tourist area, after clashes at the weekend that left around 60 militants dead.

The troubles in Swat have reinforced fears of a spillover from Pakistan's lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, where thousands of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants fled after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.
None of these reports says so explicitly, but as we've seen many times in the past, the attacks against Pakistani military and police forces are especially motivated by President General Pervez Musharraf's alliance with America in the bogus war on bogus terror -- and exacerbated by "opposition leader" Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan to form an alliance with the military dictator, and all in the name of democracy.

This alliance -- a political "marriage" of convenience and power -- is supported by the Americans, and therefore I expect the suicide bombings to continue, even to worsen...

[see also]

Death Threats And Court Challenges: Pakistan Awaits The Return Of Benazir Bhutto

Karachi Bomb Attack Misses Benazir Bhutto But Kills Scores Of Others

Benazir Bhutto Plays A Cynical Hand After Karachi Bombing

Captured Pakistanis Beheaded As A Warning: 'All Sons Of Bush Will Meet Similar Fate'