Pakistan parliament was target of terror attack: report

September 21st, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 21 (IANS) The terror attack on the Marriott Hotel here Saturday was aimed at Pakistan’s parliament where the entire civil and military leadership of the country had gathered to listen to the first address by President Asif Ali Zardari, a media report said Sunday.At least 46 people were killed when a suicide bomber drove a truck packed with explosives into the luxury hotel in the heart of the Pakistani capital, setting ablaze one of the best known hubs of the country’s elite.

The attack took place just a kilometer from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s house where Zardari, army chief General Ashfar Parvez Kayani and over 300 MPs were at an Iftar dinner.

Security had been tightened in the area for the earlier address to parliament by Zardari.

The News quoted security officials as saying that checking at these places was made very strict Saturday.

Rehman Malik, an advisor to the prime minister on interior affairs, told The News that his ministry had received information two days ago about a possible suicide attack on parliament house at the time of the president’s address.

Malik said the security of the capital was beefed up and the surroundings of the parliament house were declared a red zone.

He said he and security experts believed that the truck which hit the Marriott tried to enter the red zone during the president’s address.

Malik said: “This is our perception now that the terrorists had set two targets, one direct and the other optional.”

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