Monday, February 4, 2008

Suicide Bomb Kills 6 in Rawalpindi

On Monday, a suicide bombing in Rawalpindi garnered significant press attention, and news sources reported the bomber, who was riding a motorbike, rammed into a minibus carrying security personnel, killing 6 people and wounding 30, [although Pakistan's Geo TV reported that 10 people were killed]. The attack occurred during Monday's morning rush hour. The Associated Press cited Bisharat Abbasi, the local police chief, who said, "The bus was destroyed during the blast on a road running through a bazaar near the offices of the army's National Logistics Cell." The AFP provided eyewitness accounts in its report today. One motor mechanic told the news agency, "The bus was completely destroyed. I saw dozens of people lying injured and dead on the road, covered in blood -- most were wearing army uniforms. One was a woman." Another man asserted, "There was a big ball of fire and smoke. Some pellets from the bomb hit the wall of my shop and I dived down, because I was injured in the arm in another blast that happened at this spot last year."

According to BBC News, authorities have blamed Taliban-linked militants for the attack. The news piece added, "A series of suicide bomb attacks have hit Rawalpindi in the last year. In December opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed at a rally there." Although the perpetrator of Bhutto's assassination has still not been confirmed, [the Pakistani government claims she was killed by Al Qaeda-linked militants], news sources on Sunday revealed details of her soon-to-be published book, entitled, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West that promised to add to the speculation. According to the Dawn newspaper, Bhutto noted, "I was told by both the Musharraf regime and the foreign Muslim government that four suicide bomber squads would attempt to kill me. These included, the reports said, squads sent by the Taliban warlord Beitullah Mehsud; Hamza Bin Laden, a son of Osama Bin Laden; Red Mosque militants; and a Karachi-based militant group." According to The News, she had informed Musharraf about the involvement of Hamza bin Laden in planning her assassination. Pakistan's Sunday Times published excerpts of the book, set to be released the second week of February.


Noor said...

Unfortunately, it is very easy to lump all insurgent movements together much like a recent graduate will attempt to consolidate their loans to simplify where their payments have to go at the end of each month. The purpose is very clear: it takes the heat off of the authorities to explain why they have no identified a suspected individual or organization and it serves to further the government's campaign against a specific insurgent group. This is a tactic used throughout the world by governments everywhere.

With that being said, I am not suggesting that it was not Taliban-associated militants who carried out this attack, I am merely trying to raise awareness regarding the claims of the government that these attacks are carried out by certain organizations.

Hopefully, the Pakistani government will be able to maintain a greater amount of control over these burgeoning terrorist threats but this does not seem to be the case. My sincere hope is that at the very least, the government remains honest with its people regarding who and what are responsible for these attacks against innocent civilians.

Fahad said...

I agree with Noor-- It is very easy (and convenient) to simplify and categorize all the movements together. There are a number of insurgencies that are challenging the writ of the government and not all of them religious-based.