Archive for the ‘assassination’ Category

Pakistan’s Police Losing Terrorism Fight

December 4, 2008

If India’s reaction to the revelation that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai terrorism didn’t get your attention; this headline might.  Pakistan is roiling from the impact of a widespread terror insurgency, combined with total financial bankruptcy of the nation and internal disputes and rivalries added to decades of unrest with India.  Pakistan’s Army is pinned down in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan; trying to wrestle control and influence from the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  And last weekend, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, rival groups went on a riotous rampage…..


Brothers Mushtaq and Ishaq Ali left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.

They went straight to the local Urdu-language newspaper to announce their resignation. They were too poor to pay for a personal ad, so the editor of The Daily Moon, Rasheed Iqbal, published a news story instead. He has run dozens like it.

“They just want to get the word out to the Taliban that they are not with the police anymore so they won’t kill them,” said Iqbal. “They know that no one can protect them, and especially not their fellow policemen.”

Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals ... 
Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals in Karachi’s troubled area of Lyari, Pakistan, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Criminals and police exchanged fire during the action that killed one person and injured three, local police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Outgunned and out-financed, police in volatile northwestern Pakistan are fighting a losing battle against insurgents, dozens of interviews by The Associated Press show. They are dying in large numbers, and many survivors are leaving the force.

Kathy Gannon, Associated Press Writer

The number of terrorist attacks against police has gone up from 113 in 2005 to 1,820 last year, according to National Police Bureau. The death toll for policemen in that time has increased from nine to 575. In the northwestern area alone, 127 policemen have died so far this year in suicide bombings and assassinations, and another 260 have been wounded.

The crisis means the police cannot do the nuts-and-bolts work needed to stave off an insurgency fueled by the Taliban and al-Qaida. While the military can pound mountain hideouts, analysts and local officials say it is the police who should hunt down insurgents, win over the people, and restore order.

A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded ...
A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded Badaber police station at outskirt of Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday Nov 4, 2008. Police officers left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

“The only way to save Pakistan is to think of extremism and insurgency in North West Frontier Province as a law enforcement issue,” said Hassan Abbas, a South Asia expert at Harvard University’s Belfer Center Project for Science. “Rather than buying more F-16s, Pakistan should invest in modernizing its police.”

In the Swat Valley, militants have turned a once-idyllic mountain getaway into a nightmare of bombings and beheadings despite a six-month military operation to root them out. About 300 policemen have fled the force already.

On a recent evening in Mardan, Akhtar Ali Shah had just slipped out of his deputy police inspector’s uniform to head home. In an escort vehicle, a half-dozen of his guards had inched outside the giant white gates of the police station for a routine security check.

The bomb exploded minutes later. Through a cloud of dust and dirt, Shah saw five of his six guards lying dead near the blood-smeared gate. The head of the suicide bomber rested nearby.

“We are the ones who are getting killed by the terrorists that we are facing,” Shah said later.

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Mumbai: Additional Ministers Resign In India’s Shaken Government

December 1, 2008

India’s government, badly shaken by the Mumbai massacre and a poor police response, is suffering addional bleeding as the very top members of the government are resigning….  In the U.S., this would be like the FBI Director, the Director of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense resigning….

Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

Manmohan Singh
India’s prime Minister Singh


After union home minister Shivraj Patil, Maharashtra deputy chief minister R R Patil quit on Monday in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and now chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh also appears to be on the way out.

The Times of india

“I offered to resign at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Saturday,” said Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

“High Command will decide (on the resignation issue),” he said.

Earlier, highly placed Congress sources said Deshmukh has offered to resign and a decision on it will be taken in a day or two.

The offer comes after the CWC meet attended by Deshmukh on Saturday evening which saw leader after leader emphasising the need to ensure accountability from “higher to lower level”.

Party leaders say since the union home minister has resigned at the higher level, the accountability now needs to be fixed at the lower level also and the Chief Minister has to take a call at the earliest.

His deputy R R Patil resigned three days after the terror strikes and his party chief Sharad Pawar has asked the chief minister to accept the resignation.

“We have taken our own decision. It is for them to take their decision,” the NCP supremo said when asked whether the chief minister, who belongs to Congress, had also quit.

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Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

November 29, 2008

We are told that India’s government could fall as a result of the Mumbai terror attacks.

Political analysist inside India said the weak government of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could probably not gracefully accept the criticism bound to come after the Mumbai attacks. 

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

These analysts expect resignations among top security and intelligence officials almost immediately.

Experts in India’s politics say that in public you won’t hear the real truth about the Mumbai terror attacks.

Already on Sunday India’s interior minister resigned as anger grew over intelligence failures leading up to the devastating attacks on Mumbai.

Indian interior minister Shivraj Patil seen in New Delhi on ... 
Indian interior minister Shivraj Patil seen in New Delhi on November 27. Patil resigned Sunday as anger grew over intelligence failures leading up to the attacks on Mumbai and investigators focused on a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group.(AFP/File/Raveendran)

Two professors in New Deli and Mumbai told us that the terror attacks on Mumbai could well be just more of the brutal side of Indian politics.

In South Asia, where assassinations, violence and warfare have played a huge role in politics in every decade since the partitioning of Pakistan and India, some regional scholars say this week’s bloodshed in Mumbai could have been instigated by the opposition political party.

Our sources, which wanted to remain anonymous, said the opposition parties to India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could well have engineered the violence to help end the PM’s hold on government.

Manmohan Singh
ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਸਿੰਘ
Manmohan Singh

“Manmohan Singh is the George W. Bush of India’s politics.  People want him discedited, disgraced and out of office.  If the opposition is responsible for Mumbai, they will say ‘Look, the PM cannot even assure security,'” said a reliable source to Peace and Freedom.

one of our sources is a native of Mumbai and a professor of politics in India.

“One cannot over estimate the hatred for this [Indian] government from the opposition.  And elections are on the way.  The new government will claim credit for reestablishing security and India’s business greatness, if they are elected and the economy changes,” said the professor.


This article from the Indo Asian News Service just two months ago shows the level of dissatisfaction with India’s current government from the opposition. 

September 28, 2008

Guwahati, Sep 28 (IANS) Top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday launched a personal attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling him the ‘weakest and most unsuccessful’ premier in the country’s parliamentary history.

Lal Krishna Advani
Lal Krishna Advani

‘I have seen 14 prime ministers since the first parliamentary elections and I am sad to say that Manmohan Singh is the weakest and most unsuccessful among them as he is a puppet in the hands of Sonia Gandhi (chairperson of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government),’ BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said.

Advani was addressing a public rally in Assam’s main city of Guwahati as part of the BJP’s Sankalp Yatra, a campaign pledging support for the party ahead of next years general elections.

‘Manmohan Singh has devalued the office of the prime minister as he is not only weak, but has failed on all fronts while dealing with crucial issues confronting the country,’ he said.

He said terrorism and inflation were the biggest threat faced by India today and lashed out at the central government for failing to tackle these twin problems.

‘There are terrorist attacks almost every other day, but the government is clueless. The common people are at their wits end due to soaring prices of essentials and on the agriculture front we have seen how farmers are committing suicide,’ he said.

‘The Congress party has betrayed the trust of the Aam Admi (common man).’

Advocating the slogan of Hindutva, Advani said the BJP believes in true secularism and want Hindus, like other faiths, to practise the religion without any fear.

‘True secularism is all about respecting each others faith where Muslims, Christians and Hindus could practise and espouse their religions without any bias.

‘And as Hindus we should not be called communal when we say we would construct Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. This is a pledge and our right to do so,’ he said.

Appealing to the people of Assam to vote the BJP during the upcoming parliamentary elections, Advani said the twin problems of illegal Bangladeshi infiltration and floods were the biggest challenge for the state.

‘The Assamese people are in great danger due to unabated influx of Bangladeshis and unless it is stopped, the indigenous people would soon be overwhelmed by foreigners,’ he said.

He also announced that an electoral understanding was being worked out between the BJP and Assam’s main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

Advani is due to address party workers in Shillong Monday afternoon and would leave for New Delhi Tuesday.


Officially, heads of state are speaking in the cool tones of diplomacy.

“The killers who struck this week are brutal and violent,” Bush said on the South Lawn with first lady Laura Bush at his side. “But terror will not have the final word. The people of India are resilient. The people of India are strong. They have built a vibrant, multiethnic democracy. They can withstand this trial.”

At a layer below the heads of state, officials are blaming Pakistan for the most part.  But insiders from India say the Mumbai violence could well be another example of the ugliest side of Indian politics.


Officially, “India Inc.” Says There Will Be No Mumbai Terror Fallout on Business
Press Trust of India


India Inc on Saturday exuded confidence that business will be back to normal from Monday and heaved a sigh of relief as the 60-hour terror horror got over this morning.

While urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for tougher laws against terrorism so that dastardly acts witnessed in the financial capital since Wednesday are not repeated elsewhere in India, apex industry chambers said the economy will recover fast from the blow.

“Even yesterday stock market in the midst of the battle showed some resilience, this is an indication as to how India and its people take these dastardly activities of terrorists in their stride. We expect that by Monday the regular financial parameters and fundamentals will come back into play,” FICCI Secretary General Amit Mitra told PTI.

Mitra, however, reminded the Prime Minister to keep his words for tough action against terrorism.

“We expect that the commitments made by the Prime Minister of tougher laws against terrorists and centralised single agency for dealing with such situations will come into force sooner or later,” he said.

Singh, on Thursday, had stated that “strongest possible measures” would be taken to deal with terrorists and their supporters.

Expressing confidence that the attack would not have any long lasting impact on foreign investments in India, Mitra said: “India is a natural destination for potential investors in the future. 25 billion dollars have come as FDI, we expect the flow to continue even if slightly muted, given the global circumstances.”

Assocham Secretary General DS Rawat also expressed confidence that India would recover fast from the blow although it could face a temporary setback.

Obama doesn’t worry about threats against him

November 27, 2008

Soon-to-be president Barack Obama said he is not worried about his own security, despite a higher level of threats against him than any other president-elect in history.

Since Obama’s election, law enforcement officials have seen potential threatening writings, racist Internet postings and other troubling activity popping up. But Obama said in an interview with Barbara Walters that he never thinks about his safety.

By SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writer

President-elect Barack Obama greets school children after making ... 
President-elect Barack Obama greets school children after making a surprise visit to St. Columbanus Catholic School on the South Side of Chicago, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“Part of it because I’ve got this pretty terrific crew of Secret Service guys that follow me everywhere I go, but also because I have a deep religious faith and faith in people that carries me through the day,” he said. “And my job is just to make sure I’m doing my job, and if I do, I can’t worry about that kind of stuff.”

In all the stress of the transition, Obama said he’s trying to eat healthy food, work out regularly and refrain from smoking now that the campaign is over, but he did not say he has quit cigarettes entirely.

Obama, a smoker who has quit but admitted occasional relapses, said in the interview that he fell “off the wagon during the campaign” a few times.

He did not directly answer her question about whether he is sneaking an occasional cigarette now amid the intense pressure of building his administration and the countdown to his swearing-in on Jan. 20.

“Part of what I think comes with this role as president is that you’re not perfect but hopefully you’re trying to set a good example for people, and that starts with my two kids,” Obama said in the interview that aired Wednesday on ABC-TV.

He said he’s been trying to stay healthy since the days of burgers on the campaign trail. The president-elect works out nearly every day, and says he’s watching his diet too.

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Commentary: Momentous day for Pakistan, Bhutto’s legacy

March 18, 2008
By Asif Ali Zardari

Asif Ali Zardari is the co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and widower of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in Pakistan in December.

In this handout photo released by Pakistan Parliament House, ...
In this handout photo released by Pakistan Parliament House, Asif Ali Zardari, left, widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and co-chairman of Pakistan People’s Party waves as former prime minister Nawaz Sharif looks on during the National assembly’s first session at Parliament House in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday, March 17, 2008. Pakistan inaugurated a new parliament on Monday dominated by opponents of President Pervez Musharraf who have vowed to crimp his powers and review his U.S.-backed policies against al-Qaida and the Taliban.
(AP Photo/Pakistan Parliament House, HO)

(CNN) — Monday was a momentous day for the people of Pakistan, but a bittersweet day for me.

Sitting in the gallery watching a democratically elected National Assembly headed by the Pakistan Peoples Party and its coalition partners, I thought of the terrible price paid for this moment of liberty. I thought of the many jailed, beaten, tortured, and exiled. I thought of all of those who had their reputations assaulted. I thought of the undermining and dismantling of Pakistani civil society. I thought of the attacks on the independence and autonomy of the judicial system. I thought of the censorship of the press, emergency rule and martial law.

But of course more than anything else, I thought of my beloved wife, Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, who sacrificed her life for her beliefs and her country. This was the day of her triumph, the vindication of her long battle for the restoration of democracy. For my country, this was a day of celebration. But for me and our children, this day was also a day of tears. Democracy had come to Pakistan, but at a terrible, terrible price.

Last week, the two largest political parties in Pakistan agreed to form a coalition government that would restore democracy and bring stability to our country. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which I lead after the assassination of my wife, has joined the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to form a broad-based, democratic, liberal government in Pakistan — an umbrella of reconciliation and consensus. The new prime minister, from the PPP, will be announced within the next few days.

In agreeing to form a coalition government Mr. Sharif and I have responded to the mandate given by the people of Pakistan in the February 18 election. Pakistan’s people no longer want to live under the thumb of a dictator. They want an end to terrorism and violence and wish to join the rest of the modern world in the pursuit of peace and prosperity. They want to restore the supremacy of the people’s house, the National Assembly, and free it from the sword of Damocles of a marginal presidency with inflated, unconstitutional authority.

Pakistan’s political leaders and people have suffered from the politics of personal destruction; we have been battered by dictatorship; we have seen civil society taken apart and a free and independent judiciary destroyed. We have seen international assistance, secured in the name of fighting terrorism, diverted towards making Pakistan’s affluent few richer. We have seen progress on education, health and women’s rights stopped and reversed. But now, with renewed confidence in democratic parties like the PPP and PML-N, it is time for the rebirth of a democratic, vital and progressive Pakistan.

Some fear a coalition government would lack the necessary strength to tackle Pakistan’s myriad problems. But cooperation between the country’s biggest political parties, representing an overwhelming majority of the people, would bring greater stability than one-man rule. Together, the PPP and PML-N will be able to build a strong civil society. That would go a long way to erasing the scars of militarism and militancy. We will focus on providing education and employment at the grassroots levels so the country’s youth can play an integral role in building a strong national economy.

Under the rule of Pervez Musharraf, extremists were allowed to thrive along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The key to improving security there is not to make citizens in Pakistan’s tribal areas feel like second-rate citizens kept under lock and key, caught between the threats of violence from militants and the military. Rather, we must let all of our citizens, including those in the Federally Administered Tribal Area, know they are part participants in the growth of Pakistan’s economy and civil society.

Fostering a better level of trust and understanding among the people in the border areas, and delivering on their key needs, is essential to enhancing security in the FATA and throughout Pakistan. While immediate steps must be taken to hunt down identified terrorists, the long-term solution to extremism lies in respecting the will of the people and in providing them with a means of livelihood at every level — food, clothing, shelter, jobs and education. By talking to and respecting our people, we will be able to isolate the extremists and terrorists.

Those of us who are now in a position of leadership seek, in my wife’s words, “a tomorrow better than any of the yesterdays we have ever known.” We see a Pakistan where all children, regardless of their socio-economic standing or their gender, are guaranteed compulsory and quality primary and secondary education. We see a Pakistani educational system of quality teachers, who receive decent salaries, and teach in modern classrooms with state-of-the-art computers and technology. We see a Pakistan where political madrassas that teach hatred are closed, and educational institutions that focus on science and technology flourish.

The PPP has a vision to build a nation that is one of the great capital markets of the world; a revitalized nation that will generate international investment. We look forward to the complete electrification of all of our villages, the purification of our nation’s drinking water, the privatization of the public sector, the expansion of the energy sector, the development of our export industries, the modernization of our ports and the rebuilding our national infrastructure. All of these elements are essential to a Pakistan where a democratically elected government, with the mandate of the people, confronts and marginalizes the forces of extremism and terrorism wherever they may exist in our nation. In other words, I see the Pakistan for which my wife lived and died.

Pakistan’s democracy has not evolved over the past 60 years because the generals believed they should intervene in politics and run the country. The army’s misperception of itself as the country’s only viable institution, and its deep-rooted suspicion of the civilian political process, has prevented democracy from flourishing. The PPP and its allies will reverse the current regime’s suppression of civil society and free speech. We will establish a Press Complaints Commission similar to that of the United Kingdom and stand up for the democratic rights of citizens to freely establish television and radio stations, subject to the basic legal framework.

While the tasks ahead are not easy, the Pakistan Peoples Party plans to work in good faith with its fellow democratic parties and our coalition allies to achieve our goal of building a new, progressive Pakistan. Everything will not come at once. The reformation of Pakistan — politically, economically and socially — will be a long and complex process. But we are determined to begin and we are determined to succeed.

We did not come this far, we did not sacrifice this much, to fail.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

Scotland Yard: Pakistan’s Bhutto Killed by Blast, Not Bullet

February 8, 2008
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Scotland Yard said in a report released Friday that Pakistan‘s opposition leader Benazir Bhutto died as a result of a suicide bomb blast, not a gunshot — findings that support the Pakistani government’s version of the events.


Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party immediately rejected the British conclusion and repeated its demand for a U.N. investigation.

The party says Bhutto was shot and suspects a government cover-up because Bhutto had accused political allies of President Pervez Musharraf of plotting to kill her.

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Pulling the plug on Pyongyang

February 3, 2008

By James T. Hackett
The Washington Times
February 3, 2008

In 2005, the president changed policy toward North Korea. After years of withholding tribute and applying pressure, he switched to accommodation. It has not worked. He should revitalize the alliance with Japan and the new South Korean government, and return to a policy of containment.

The failure of the current policy was spelled out by Jay Lefkowitz, a New York lawyer and former deputy assistant in the Bush White House, and since 2005 the President’s Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea. In remarks at the American Enterprise Institute, Mr. Lefkowitz suggested the six-party talks have failed and now North Korea is merely awaiting the end of the Bush administration. He deserves a medal for telling the truth.

Jay Lefkowitz, the U.S. envoy for human rights in North Korea, ...
Jay Lefkowitz

For decades the Kim dynasty that rules the North made trouble by assassinating enemies in foreign lands, kidnapping Japanese citizens, launching missiles of increasing range, selling missiles to countries in the Middle East, maintaining a million-man army, and developing nuclear weapons. The North’s antics concern this country mainly because thousands of U.S. troops are still in South Korea, but its behavior also should concern the North’s neighbors.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (C) is seen at an undisclosed ...
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (C).

Taliban Commander Emerges As Pakistan’s ‘Biggest Problem’

January 10, 2008

By Imtiaz and Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, January 10, 2008; Page A17

PESHAWAR, Pakista, Jan. 9 — Even as his reputation has grown more menacing and his militia more powerful, the Taliban conmmander accused of ordering the death of Benazir Bhutto has shrouded himself in mystery. When Baitullah Mehsud attended a February 2005 signing ceremony for an ill-fated cease-fire with the Pakistani government, he bundled his face and upper body in a black cloth before appearing in public to scrawl his signature. Like the man to whom he has sworn allegiance, Afghan Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, Mehsud has obsessively avoided cameras and maintained an ascetic lifestyle.

Since then, Mehsud has emerged as perhaps the greatest military threat to the Pakistani government…..

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Pakistan: Muhammad Reports January 9, 2008

January 9, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir, I hope you and your team at the Peace and Freedom will be alright. Some interestings events have been taking place in tribal areas.

These events give a clear indication that now the government of Pakistan at last decided to finish Taliban and terrorists. It is not yet clear after Taliban and terrorists to the whom the areas will be given.

A change of governor, the controlling authorities has also taken place.

According to reports, security forces resumed artillery fire on miscreants’ hideouts in the Matta and Kabal areas of Swat, as there were reports that rebel cleric Maulana Fazlullah may have been killed in the shelling.

A Daily Times Monitoring report quoted Geo News as saying that rumours about Fazlullah’s death arose following the security forces’ shelling of rebel hideouts, but neither security officials nor Taliban leaders confirmed them.

Also on Tuesday, security forces targeted militant positions in Piochar and Ocharaee Sar in Swat. The troops also arrested a paramedic, Hilal Ahmad, on charges of providing first-aid to militants.

Meanwhile, official sources told Daily Times that more than 500 miscreants – some of them close confidantes of Fazlullah’s and would-be suicide bombers – had been arrested by security forces since the launching of the operation in the valley. The sources said the detainees were being investigated at different locations and some of them had provided key information to interrogators. Meanwhile, the government said its writ had been restored in 90 percent of Swat, adding that Kabal was on high alert following a suicide bombing on Sunday. Curfew was also in place in areas between Baryam Bridge and Venai on Tuesday.

Report from Wana, the headquarter of Waziristan said that smultaneous attacks on the offices of pro-government peace committees supporting commander Maulvi Nazir will lead to “serious consequences” for Baitullah Mehsud, officials and tribal elders said. Baitullah is being chased by the government for his alleged involvement in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

“Anyone who is from the Mehsud tribe is leaving Wana following the late Sunday night attacks in which ten comrades of Maulvi Nazir were killed,” the officials told Daily Times.

“The current situation will help the government and endanger Baitullah Mehsud’s life,” the officials said. Maulvi Nazir’s men retaliated and killed a Mehsud Talib and captured four others hours after the attacks. A Mehsud tribesman said that there was tense situation for non-Wazir residents in Wana where announcements were being made via loudspeaker-mounted vehicles asking the Mehsuds to “leave the Wana soil.”

Most Ahmedzai Wazirs believe the attacks were orchestrated by Baitullah Mehsud and that Maulvi Nazir people can retaliate,” he said.

Separately, Nazir summoned a meeting of elders of his clan on Wednesday to discuss the situation after the killings, his aides told AFP. The Mehsud tribe also held a meeting and decided to send a delegation for talks with aides of Baitullah Mehsud, local administration official Khaista Rehman said.

Dear Sir, at the moment the situation is very critical and tense. Any mishandling may lead to bloodshed and more killing.

Please pray for us. Situation in Bajaur Agency is normal to some extent, but there is tension as the people are expecting full-scale operation against the militants.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Some fear Pakistan could splinter apart

January 9, 2008

By Paul Wiseman
USA Today
January 9, 2008

HYDERABAD, Pakistan — Qadir Magsi, a doctor before he entered politics, says the prognosis for Pakistan is grim: He gives it a decade to live as a united country.

The assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Dec. 27 removed “the last hope for Pakistan to stay intact,” Magsi says. He expects Bhutto’s native Sindh province will emerge as an independent nation unless the military establishment surrenders more power to the country’s four provinces.

Others’ predictions aren’t so dire, but the threat of separatism is rising in a country reeling….

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