Suspected suicide blast kills over 10 in Islamabad on Pakistan Day
Suicide bomber targets Pak police Special Branch
Unofficial sources said that casualties touched 35 with 150 injured
Islamabad, March 23 (Agencies): A suicide bomber killed a policeman who had stopped him at the entrance to a police station in Islamabad today on Pakistan Day, police said.
The police Special Branch operated from the station in the Sitara Market neighbourhood of the capital, police said.
The Special Branch is responsible for collecting intelligence on terrorism, sectarianism and political activities in the country.
“The bomber was on foot, and when the guards tried to stop him at the check post he blew himself up,” said Rana Akbar, a senior official in the city administration.
He said one policeman was killed. Five other persons, most of them policeman, were injured.
Witnesses said the bomber was accompanied by another person but his whereabouts could not be traced.
Waris Raja, a reporter from Islamabad reported in the Rajasthan Patrika , a prime Hindi Daily in India that unofficial sources estimate a casualties over 35, injuring another 150 . Some are very serious. The authorities want to suppress the severity of the blast to a lead story of success about the peace progress in this destabilized country tormented between terrorism and communalism.
Though Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said: “ We were on high alert, but there is no way to detect a person who is determined to blow himself up.”
Malik said intelligence agencies had recently reported that five to six suicide bombers were likely to enter Islamabad to attack political leaders and rallies. Islamabad and other cities were on high alert, he added.
Police cordoned off the site, but an eyewitness described the scene.
“I can see human flesh scattered on the road and the damaged police check post at the gate,” Abdul Saboor said.
Taliban militants and jihadi groups linked to al Qaida have run a campaign of violence to try to destabilise nuclear-armed Pakistan.
Islamist militants are blamed for near-daily attacks in the Western-allied but increasingly unstable country, though little information on today’s bomber was available.
A suicide truck bomb attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad last September, tolled more than 50 and the assault by gunmen on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore this month were measures of the growing danger.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari called on Britain and the US earlier today to do more to help his government fight terrorism.
Zardari said his Pakistan People’s Party had brought democracy to the country after more than eight years under the military rule of General Pervez Musharraf, and the international community should now play its part.
Asked in an interview on Sky News television to outline his key message to Britain and the US, Zardari said: “The message is: You’ve got democracy, democracy is part of the solution — but … the second part of the solution is with you, so please give us the help that we need.
Red Alert in Pakistan Capital
Pak intelligence warns of terror attacks; security beefed up
24 Mar 2009, 1432 hrs IST, PTI
ISLAMABAD: Security was tightened across Pakistan on Tuesday following an intelligence warning that Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud had sent 20 foreign militants, most of them Uzbeks, to carry out terror strikes in major cities.
The move came after a suicide bomber struck at an office of the special branch of police in Islamabad last night, killing a policeman and injuring five others.
Officials said there could have been more casualties if the bomber was not stopped at the gate of the office.
The intelligence agencies had warned that terrorists could strike in Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi and other major cities, a senior police official told the Dawn newspaper.
Adequate protective measures had been put in place, security around police installations had been tightened and patrolling had been increased. Vehicles and people are being randomly checked in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, he said.
Police teams are also checking hotels and had rounded up 36 “suspicious” people. A total of 79 motorbikes, 19 cars and two rickshaws have also been impounded, he said.
Police have also arrested 20 people on charges of committing crimes and seized weapons from them, the official said.