Posts Tagged ‘Lahore’
Today is the first of the month – a day where people get salaries, plan for the month ahead, pay bills, pay their children’s school fees.
Today on the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway, a couple of suicide bombers detonated their jackets near the police checkpost on the Babu Sabu interchange. The attack happened after the two were stopped. The attack saw both suicide bombers killed. 15 people are reportedly injured, which includes several police officers. The attackers are reported to have been less than 20 years old.
The Motorway also saw an attack on October 24, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near the Lillah interchange, killing one police officer.
Today in Rawalpindi, Pakistan – a planted bomb exploded suicide bomber detonated a bomb laden motorcycle, killing 30 people and injuring 40. 25 people (this is an unconfirmed number as the death toll keeps rising) and injuring 30. Eyewitness reports gathered by Pakistani news channels say that there were several military officers who were at the National Bank of Pakistan collecting their salaries, and that the blast took place in the parking lot. The area is one of those ‘highly sensitive’ ones – the Pearl Continental hotel was next door and the Army’s General Head Quarters a few kilometers away. Schools have been closed in the city.
Today in Pakistan, the Government is obsessed not with the security situation in the country, not with the military operation in Waziristan, but with aid conditions in the Kerry-Lugar/Berman bill and the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance.
Today in Rawalpindi and Lahore, as families try and get news and innocent people die and are injured, as news channels scramble for visuals, as the empty condemnations from political leaders pour in, as the country’s ever-increasing sense of fear grows, everything is in short supply: leadership, effective governance, security and stability.
Dial Five for Fear: Pakistan has seen a series of attacks today – 3 in Lahore, 1 in Kohat, 1 in Peshawar – all that unfolded within the space of hours on Thursday. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has claimed responsibility for the Lahore attacks, targeted three buildings: the Federal Intelligence Agency building, the Manawan Police Training Academy and the Elite Forces Headquarters. The FIA and Manawan buildings have previously been attacked before. In Kohat and Peshawar, two car bombs exploded. The one in Kohat was near the Cantt Police Station and the Peshawar one was in the Officers Colony.
With police and army soldiers responding to the series of attacks – they did manage to have the situation under control within a number of hours (as opposed to the GHQ attack on Saturday which took over 18 hours to resolve) – the buildings were cleared out. 10 of the attackers – who fired gunshots and lobbed hand grenades – were killed in the three buildings. (4 at Manawan, 1 at FIA and 5 at the Elite Forces HQ).
With 18 people dead in the Lahore attacks, 11 in Kohat and 1 in Peshawar, this has been a very bloody day for a country. More importantly, the words ‘SECURITY FAIL’ seem to be flashing over and over again in my head since the facilities were supposed to be heavily guarded and the country’s government officials have been saying repeatedly that they expected more terrorist attacks in the country.
But the security lapses are a question for another day, one that will probably never get answered. After all, the Interior Minister of the country – who received 7.3 million rupees for travel allowances for his visits abroad – doesn’t seem to have anything else to say but “law enforcement agencies are fully alert ” and “terrorists will conduct more strikes”.
Meanwhile, several rumours went around during the Lahore attacks. One of them was that the attackers on the Bedian HQ had three women among them – quite possibly a first for Pakistan (my first thought was of Leila Khaled, for some weird reason). That rumour has beeen denied, but if it is true it may just bode to be yet another tactic in TTP’s bag of tricks, and one that doesn’t bode well. The other was that there was a hostage situation, but that also turned out to be false.
In any case, what’s more ironic is that subscribers of Pakistani newspapers The News, The Nation and Daily Times woke up this morning to see this on the front page (disclaimer: its an advertisement)
As part of the 170 million, I really think my life may have just gone down the drain.
At 11:59 AM (PST): 11 injured in Bedian Elite Forces attack. In a change from previous attacks, news reports say there were 3 women attackers in the Bedian attack.
I’ll be commenting on this later on in the day. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack, so we’ll also be looking at what this means for the upcoming ground operation in South Waziristan.
At 11:34 AM (PST), this is the toll of those killed and injured: 7 killed in FIA attack, 7 injured in Bedian Elite Forces HQ attack, 2 dead in Manawan Police Academy attack.
As I type this out, Lahore is under siege with three terrorist attacks
- The FIA building on Temple Road – a number of attackers fired at the building. News reports say at least two (or three) of them were shot dead. 4 bodies have been recovered from the location. There was a hostage situation which has reportedly been resolved, and the building has been cleared.
- The Elite Forces Headquarters on Bedian Road has been attacked. Reports say that hand grenades were thrown at the building.
- The Manawan police academy – which has already been attacked before – is under siege as well by gunmen in militia uniforms.
Elsewhere in Pakistan, 10 people were killed today in Kohat, after a car bomb exploded near the Cantt Police Station.