Archive for March 7th, 2009

The Grave Yard called Pakistan

March 7, 2009

March 8,2009 by alertpak
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Suicide car blast in Pakistan; 11 killed

7 Mar 2009, 1205 hrs IST, AP

PESHAWAR: A bomb-laden car exploded Saturday in northwest Pakistan as police tried to pull a body from it, authorities said, killing 11 people amid

growing international concern over the nuclear-armed country’s stability.

The blast came days after gunmen brazenly attacked Sri Lanka’s cricket team in eastern Pakistan and preceded planned anti-government rallies involving the main opposition party, whose leader was recently barred from elected office.

The deepening political turmoil concerns US and other Western officials who need Pakistan to focus on fighting militants. Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters are believed to use pockets of Pakistan’s northwest as bases to plan attacks on US and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan, as well as against government and civilian targets in Pakistan itself.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Friday it was “vital” for Pakistani politicians to stop feuding and “unite against the mortal threat that Pakistan faces, which is a threat from its internal enemies.”

Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants have staged numerous attacks against security forces near the Afghan border, including a roadside bomb that killed three civilians and wounded four troops Saturday in the town of Darra Adam Khel. Still, the strike that killed seven policemen and a bystander near the main northwest city of Peshawar appeared to be the first to use a body as a lure.

Local police chief Rahim Shah said his men went to the Badaber area after an unknown caller told them a body was in a parked car. Residents and police recently evicted militants from the area, prompting threats of retaliation.

“They found the white car. They also saw a body inside, but when they were pulling it out, the car bomb went off,” Shah said, calling the setup a “new technique.”

Pakistan recently claimed victory in an offensive against militants in Bajur, one of the nearby tribal regions overlooking the Afghan frontier. Officials also say they are close to flushing militants from the adjacent Mohmand tribal area.

At the same time, Pakistan also has raised alarm bells in the West by engaging in peace talks with Taliban militants and agreeing to impose Islamic law in the nearby Swat region.

The rest of the country has not been immune from violence, as demonstrated by TUSay’s attack on the cricket team in Lahore. Heavily armed gunmen killed six police and a driver and wounded several players before fleeing USathed.

The assault bore some resemblance to November’s terrorist rampage in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai. The Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba has been blamed for that attack, in which 164 people were killed.

The group’s chief spokesman, Abdullah Ghaznavi, on Saturday denied it was involved in the attack on the Sri Lankans. He blamed Indian spies, but offered no evidence to back that up.

“We consider it an attack on Pakistan,” he said.

The group also denies involvement in the Mumbai attacks, which spurred outrage in longtime rival India.

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram declared Friday that Pakistan could become a failed state and raised doubts about who was in charge in the Muslim-majority nation, according to a news report.

“In Pakistan, with regret, I would say we don’t know who is in control there whether it is the army or the president or the government,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Chidambaram as saying at a seminar. “It is not a failed state, but it is threatening to become one.”

The Sri Lankans were attacked in Punjab province, stronghold of Pakistani opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.

The federal government recently dismissed the provincial government, led by Sharif’s brother, after a court disqualified the Sharifs from elected office.

Their party intends to participate in a massive march on the capital in the coming week organized by lawyers calling for an independent judiciary.

An exceptional show of strength could hamper support for the federal ruling party, which is a year into its term as Pakistan’s first civilian administration in nearly a decade.

Input Courtesy : The Times of India, 08th March 2009

Suicide bomber kills 4 in NW Pakistan: Official

7 Mar 2009, 1954 hrs IST, AP

PESHAWAR: A government official says a suicide bomber killed four people at a mosque serving as a headquarters for a militant group in northwest Pakistan.
Official Sadiq Khan says five people were wounded in the Saturday afternoon attack in Tirah village in Khyber tribal area.
It was unclear what the motivation was behind the attack. Khan says the mosque was a headquarters for Ansarul Islam, a militant group. The group is a rival to another militant outfit in the area known as Lashkar-e-Islam.
Khan says the bomber tried to enter the mosque but blew himself up at the doorstep.
Al-Qaida, Taliban and other militants are prolific in northwest Pakistan, especially in the lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

Input Courtesy : The Times of India, 08th March 2009

Militants shoot down US drone in Pakistan: Officials

Agencies Posted: Mar 07, 2009 at 2021 hrs IST

Islamabad: A US drone was shot down by the Taliban militants in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, officials and residents said.
The drone crashed in Angoor Adda area of South Waziristan, which has witnessed several missile strikes by pilotless aircraft as well as an incursion last year by US-led coalition forces from Afghanistan.
Officials of the local administration and residents told reporters in the area that the drone, which was flying at a low altitude, was shot down by militants.
Officials said they were searching the area for the drone’s wreckage.
However, military sources told TV channels that the drone could have crashed because of technical defects.
Chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said the reports about the drone crash were being investigated.
A drone had crashed near Angoor Adda in September last year.
Input Courtesy: Indian Express , 08th March,2009

Taliban bomb 17th century Sufi shrine in Pakistan for letting in women


5 March 2009, BBC

Sufi Shrine ‘blown up by Taleban’

Suspected Taleban militants in north-west Pakistan have blown up the shrine of a 17th Century Sufi poet of the Pashtun language, police say.

No casualties are reported but the poet Rahman Baba’s grave has been destroyed and the shrine building badly damaged.

Rahman Baba is considered the most widely read poet in Pashto speaking regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Taleban had warned they would blow up the shrine if women continued to visit it and pay their respects.

Historic popularity
Literary experts say the poet’s popularity is due to his message of tolerance coupled with a powerful expression of love for God in a Sufi way.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that his lasting appeal reflects the historic popularity of Sufism in South Asia.

But our correspondent says that his views are anathema to the Taleban, who represent a more purist form of Islam and are opposed to Sufism, preventing people from visiting shrines of Sufi saints in areas they control.

When the Taleban seized power in neighbouring Afghanistan in 1996, they locked Sufi shrines.

In Mohmand tribal region, the local Taleban captured the shrine of a revered freedom movement hero, Haji Sahib of Turangzai, and turned it into their headquarters.

Taleban leaders have said in the past that they are opposed to women visiting these shrines because they believe it promotes obscenity.

Residents of Hazarkhwani area on the eastern outskirts of Peshawar – where the shrine of Rahman Baba is located – say that local Taleban groups had warned that if the women continued to visit the shrine, they would blow it up.

Taliban bomb shrine for letting in women

6 Mar 2009, AGENCIES

PESHAWAR: Suspected Islamist militants in Pakistan blew up on Thursday the mausoleum of a 17th century poet revered in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, apparently because women visited the shrine.

Rehman Baba, a renowned Pashto language poet, is revered throughout North West Frontier Province and in neighbouring Afghanistan. “Four remote-controlled bombs planted by militants in the mausoleum went off, causing serious damage to its structure,” police official Anwar Zeb said. “However, The grave was not damaged by the blasts,” he added.

The explosions punched four large holes in the building and created wide cracks. A nearby tin shed had collapsed and the outer wall of the compound had also collapsed, said an eyewitness.

There was no loss of life in the blast, but it sparked a wave of anger among hundreds of Baba’s followers, including women who visit his mausoleum daily.

“The government cannot be pressurised by such tactics,” senior minister in the provincial government Bashir Bilour told reporters. “I am at a loss to understand why terrorists targeted shrine of a great poet like Rehman Baba,” he said, adding that the government would reconstruct the mausoleum and restore its glory.

Peshawar is close to Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal zones, which have been wracked by violence since Taliban and al-Qaida militants fled US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.