Taliban leader threatens suicide attacks on Pakistani officials

June 30th, 2008 - 4:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 30 (IANS) Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has threatened suicide attacks on prominent Pakistani leaders in retaliation for attacks on his cadres in the country’s restive northwest, a media report Monday said. He has specifically named Adviser to the Prime Minister Rehman Malik and Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, The News said, quoting sources in the intelligence agencies.

Mehsud could also target Pakistani Army installations, ministers belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party that leads the country’s ruling coalition and personnel of law-enforcement agencies and the Intelligence Bureau, the newspaper added

“The sources added that Mehsud had sent four to five suicide bombers to Karachi from Waziristan while snipers were also sent to the provincial metropolis to attack the ministers and intelligence agencies personnel,” The News said.

Mehsud had issued the threat after the Pakistan Army launched an offensive against the Taliban in the tribal Khyber Agency.

This followed the breakdown of talks between the tribal leader and the Pakistani government on ceasing militancy and preventing foreign mercenaries from using Pakistani territory as a base for launching attacks against the coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The US is known to be extremely upset over these negotiations, as also with other tribal groups operating along the border with Afghanistan, saying Pakistan was giving away more than it would receive.

Such is the level of militancy in the North West Frontier Province that its capital Peshawar is in danger of being overrun by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, whose cadres enter and leave the city at will.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani said Sunday the NWFP government had launched the military operation after Mehsud’s cadres violated the peace deal, even as he stressed the government still believed in peaceful solution of issues.

“Illegal activities in the tribal areas are primarily being carried out by foreigners, most of whom have come from the Central Asian states,” he said at a press conference in Lahore, adding that the involvement of a foreign hand in aggravating the law and order situation in the tribal areas could not be ruled out.

“Both sides must adhere to the agreement and if there is a violation, the provincial government and law-enforcing agencies are left with no other option but to take action against the violators,” Gillani maintained.

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