Bomb Explodes at Sufi Shrine in Pakistan

26 03 2009
Bomb Explodes at Sufi Shrine in Pakistan

05 March 2009

A corner of the mausoleum of Sufi poet Rehman Baba damaged after an explosion in Peshawar, 05 Mar 2009
A corner of the mausoleum of Sufi poet Rehman Baba damaged after an explosion in Peshawar, 05 Mar 2009

Suspected Islamist militants in Pakistan have bombed the mausoleum of a 17th century poet revered in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

People regularly visit the marble shrine on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar to pay respects to Rehman Baba, a renowned ethnic Pashtun poet.

The blast damaged the structure of the shrine but there were no reports of injuries.

Days ahead of the attack, hardline Islamic militants had warned women against visiting the shrine. Muslim extremists such as the Taliban oppose men and women mingling together unless they are married or close relatives.

In another attack Thursday, one person died and at least 15 others were injured when a grenade was hurled during evening prayers at a mosque in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan.

Militant attacks have plagued Pakistan in recent years, especially in the Pashtun-dominated northwest.

Three terrorism attempts foiled

PESHAWAR/DI KHAN/ QUETTA: Law enforcement agencies on Sunday foiled three separate terrorism attempts, including two attempted bombings, in various parts of the country.

Peshawar police seized 10 kilogrammes of explosives packed with 400 ball bearings from a car on PAF Road and arrested two suspects. According to APP, the trigger mechanism was remote-controlled with a cell phone. Further investigation is underway to determine the intended target of the bombing.

Separately, Dera Ismail Khan city police defused a homemade 15kg bomb. The police, with the aid of the army and a bomb disposal squad, were responding to reports of a suspicious bag found near CRBC Chowk. DI Khan District Police Officer Iqbal Khan told Online the bomb was planted along the route of an army convoy.

Also on Sunday, Frontier Corps (FC) recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition and arrested seven people in Rakhani. The FC, on a tip-off, raided a house in Rakhani and recovered seven rifles, four sub-machine guns, two pistols, and 545 rounds of ammunition, Online reported.

Separately, unidentified men fired four rockets in Sui, however no casualties were reported. In another incident, a bomb blast occurred near a security forces camp in Khuzdar. While no casualties were reported, security forces injured two people during retaliatory fire. agencies

Police station attacked in Islamabad
Mon, 23 Mar 2009 16:08:29 GMT

A suicide bomb blast has rocked a police station in Islamabad and marred celebrations for the 69th anniversary of Pakistan’s Republic Day.

A Press TV correspondent on the ground in Pakistan has learned that the late Monday blast killed one policeman and two civilians.

Reports put those injured up to three.

The bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a special police branch office used by police intelligence and bomb disposal units close to the Sitara market in the center of Islamabad.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The number of the casualties is expected to rise. Police officers have cordoned off the area and rescue operations are underway.

Violence in Pakistan has surged in recent months amid a wave of attacks attributed to the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists.

A week ago, 14 people were killed when a suicide bomber struck a bus depot on the outskirts of the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi.


Andrew Buncombe: Well-trained, motivated and on the rise. But who are these militants?

5 03 2009

Source: The independent

The images are nothing short of terrifying. A dozen well-trained, well-armed men fanning out and taking up their positions with consummate ease and expertise. Nothing could be more different than the grainy CCTV footage of a single truck lurching up to the gate of a five-star hotel and its driver arguing with the security guards and, five minutes later, a massive bomb exploding.

Last night, as Pakistani police continued what increasingly seemed a hapless hunt for the perpetrators of the Lahore attack, a consensus was gathering that the ambush represented the emergence of a new and distressing terror threat for South Asia.

It is not that militant attacks are anything new for Pakistan. Since the summer of 2007, the country has been beset by about 120 suicide bomb attacks on police and civilian targets. But almost without exception, they have been largely crude, hit-or-miss strikes that depended on one or two attackers delivering a truck or car bomb. Tuesday’s highly-mobile, commando-style militants armed with grenade launchers and automatic weapons and who slipped away when they realised their objective was not obtainable, appeared anything but crude.

“These were definitely different tactics. They were like commandos and they were very clearly not on a suicide mission,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, an Islamabad-based analyst and author. “They had a particular intention – to either kidnap or attack the Sri Lankan team – but when they were not able to do that they fled and have not been seen.”

Many have likened the Lahore attacks to those in Mumbai last November when a similar number of well-trained, well-armed militants held off Indian counter-terrorism commandos for more than 60 hours. Those attacks were blamed by India and others on the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). It is too early to say whether the LeT was responsible for the Lahore attack and experts point out that, in its 20-year existence, the LeT has never attacked a target inside Pakistan. But clearly something very serious is happening in Pakistan; someone, somewhere is training groups of well-equipped, highly motivated militants who have the wherewithal and skills to challenge even the best of the region’s counter-terrorism forces. It raises all manner of questions; where are they being trained, who is supplying them with arms, who is supplying them with intelligence, why are the intelligence agencies such as Pakistan’s notorious ISI not aware of this group? More sinisterly, many will ask, are elements in the ISI linked to these militants.

Diving into the alphabet soup of potential suspects for Tuesday’s attack may be a futile task. Bahukutumbi Raman, an Indian security analyst and former intelligence official, said he believed a number of Pakistan-based militant groups had the potential to carry out that style of attack. They include the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), an offshoot of the HUM, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), an anti-Shia organisation, and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI).

Writing on his website, he adds: “Al-Qa’ida and the [Pakistan Taliban] have carried out a number of suicide bombings through individual suicide bombers and vehicle-borne bombers in many towns including Lahore but they have not so far carried out a frontal urban ambush … Since its formation in 1989, [the LeT] has never carried out any act of terrorism in Pakistani territory, against Pakistani or foreign nationals. All its acts of terrorism have been either in Indian or Afghan territory.”

Mr Raman says the HUM once had operational ties with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the Sri Lankan rebel group.

The incident has also forced a rethink of what constitutes a target. Until this point, sportsmen and woman were believed to be largely insulated from the region’s extremism. But if cricketers are now considered fair game, it means, in effect, that no one is safe.

Asked how Pakistan can defend itself against this new threat, Talat Masood, a former Pakistani general, said: “You have to have a lot of good intelligence, the support of your people and a better police. You also have to have good governance, rather than growing opposition to everything that is happening.”

Terrorist attacks damage Pakistan Buddha

13 10 2008
The damaged buddha statue.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre was informed of two attacks on an ancient rock carving of a seated Buddha located near Janabad in north-west Pakistan, a region known for its ancient Buddhist heritage and archaeological sites. According to numerous reports, suspected pro-Taliban militants carried out two attacks on the rock in early and late September, the second attack leaving the 7-metre high statue, dating from the seventh century AD, partly damaged.

This act of destruction is reminiscent to the attack which destroyed the giant Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001. The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley were inscribed simultaneously on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2003 in efforts to protect the remains of the site.