Gilani faces terror threat: Intelligence agencies

April 23rd, 2009 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, April 23 (IANS) Pakistani intelligence agencies have warned of a terror threat to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and this could be linked to the advance of the Taliban to this federal capital.

Gilani could be targeted in Islamabad, Lahore or Multan, The News reported Thursday, quoting sources privy to a letter the intelligence agencies have addressed to the interior ministry and other government departments.

“Tribal area based terrorists are planning to target Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani through a combination of explosion and a suicide attack, or guerilla attack similar to (that on) the Sri Lankan cricket team and (on) the Manawan police training centre,” the letter said.

“Three teams of terrorists are reported to be working simultaneously at Islamabad, Lahore and Multan,” it added

Terrorists had March 3 ambushed a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team while it was on its way to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium for the third day’s play in the second test against Pakistan.

Six players and the team’s assistant coach were injured in the attack, that claimed the lives of eight Pakistanis, including six policemen and two civilians.

Later, on March 30, heavily armed terrorists had stormed into the Manawan police academy on Lahore’s outskirts, just 12 km from the Indian border and held some 400 trainees hostage for more than eight hours before the security forces recaptured the complex.

Eighteen people, including eight trainees and an equal number of terrorists, died in the assault.

Earlier this week, the Taliban took complete control of the North West Frontier Province’s Buner district, just 100 km from Islamabad. The advance came despite a peace deal the militants had signed Feb 16 with the NWFP government to lay down their arms in return for Sharia laws being imposed in Swat and six other districts of the province.

The Taliban advance is perhaps what has prompted the government to requisition 20 companies (2,000 troopers) of the Northern Area Scouts (NAS) to assist the Islamabad authorities protect dignitaries and important buildings in the capital.

“At least, 20 companies of the NAS are required to tackle any possible untoward situation,” The News said, quoting sources.

Zubair Hashmi, who heads the city police’s security division, confirmed this.

“A proposal to summon the NAS has been sent to the concerned authorities,” he said.

The city police are also said to be hunting for an explosives-laden ambulance and a car bearing a “Press” sticker following a tip off from an intelligence agency, but this could well be a mock exercise.

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