Pakistani Taliban planned to target PM, others: Intelligence report

August 22nd, 2009 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, Aug 22 (IANS) The banned Pakistani Taliban, against whom the security forces are engaged in a major offensive in the country’s restive northwest, had planned to target Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other dignitaries, an intelligence report said Saturday.
Among the others on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) radar were Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, as also sensitive buildings.

According to a private TV channel, intelligence sources had informed the law enforcement agencies that the TTP had started reorganizing despite the ongoing military operations in the Malakand division of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the North and South Waziristan areas of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The TTP’s top commander, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan earlier this month.

The intelligence sources said 50 suicide bombers had been sent to Punjab and the NWFP to avenge the Rah-e-Rast military operations through suicide bombings to put pressure on the government to release the militants arrested by the security forces.

The sources said the militants might target Gilani and Sharif in the guise of law enforcement agency personnel, after which the security of both leaders had been enhanced.

The military operations had begun April 26 after the Taliban reneged on a controversial peace deal with the NWFP government under which they were to lay down their arms in return for Sharia laws being imposed in the Malakand division, which includes Swat, Buner, Lower Dir and four other districts.

Instead, they moved south from their Swat headquarters and occupied Buner, which is just 100 km from Islamabad.

The operations had begun from Lower Dir, the home district of radical cleric Sufi Mohammad, who had negotiated the peace deal and who is the father-in-law of Swat Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah. The focus later shifted to Buner and Swat.

The military says over 1,500 Taliban have been killed in the operations. While Sufi Mohammad has been captured, Fazlullah’s whereabouts are a mystery.

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