Militant attack, sectarian violence kills five in Pakistan

May 21st, 2008 - 5:11 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, May 21 (DPA) At least five people, including a policeman, were killed in overnight attacks by pro-Taliban militants and sectarian violence in north-west Pakistan, officials said Wednesday. The police official died when insurgents targeted a security check post late Tuesday in Ningolai area of the volatile Swat valley in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), according to a statement from the Pakistan Army.

The Islamic militants also set ablaze two girls’ schools in Swat, where the Pakistani army has been conducting operations since late October to clear out followers of a radical Muslim cleric, Fazlullah, who wants to impose Taliban-style Islamic rule in the region.

The months of clashes have left hundreds of people dead, prompting the government to launch peace talks with the rebels last month.

Separately, unknown gunmen Wednesday morning opened fire at the vehicle of a parliament member, Noorul Haq Qadri, in the tribal district of Khyber Agency that borders Afghanistan.

The member of parliament was not in his car but his four relatives died in the attack.

The local police suspected militant organization Lashkar Islami as being responsible for the assassination. The group is lead by firebrand cleric Mangal Bagh, who follows the puritanical Deobandi form of Sunni Islam and has close links with Taliban in Afghanistan.

Qadri is a senior leader of Ansarul Islam, the rival pro-government Sunni organization that practices Sufi Islam, has been on Lashkr Islami’s hit list for some while.

Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas have sanctuaries for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled to the area after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

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