Pakistan on high security alert

More than 185 people have died in terrorists attacks in Pakistan since the beginning of October. The country is on high security alert after the military launched a major offensive against Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) in South Waziristan on Oct. 17.

CA Online and wire services

2009-10-26

PAKISTAN — More than 185 people have died in terrorist attacks in Pakistan since the beginning of October. The country is on high security alert after the military launched a major offensive against Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) in South Waziristan on Oct. 17.

Millions of students stayed home last week, as Pakistan shut down all educational institutions for two days following a suicide attack at Islamabad’s International Islamic University that killed five people on Oct. 20.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court announced on Thursday that its building was off-limits to anyone without "legal business." Holidays for police personnel have been cancelled and police checkpoints have been augmented.

The latest in a chain of attacks in recent weeks happened on Thursday, Oct. 22, when two gunmen riding motorcycles opened fire in broad daylight on an army jeep, killing senior military officer Brigadier Ahmed Moinuddin and his driver. The officer was deputy commander of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Sudan, and had returned to Pakistan in recent days because of family affairs.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the bloodshed, saying that the string of attacks had made the government “even more resolute in our commitment to eradicate the evil of militancy.”

Two weeks ago, a band of insurgents laid siege to the army’s fortress-like headquarters in Rawalpindi and held dozens of people hostage. In successive assaults, militants have simultaneously attacked three security installations in Lahore, and bombed an army convoy and a police station. The U.N. World Food Programme closed its offices around Pakistan after five workers were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in its office in Islamabad.

Authorities believe that many of the bombings in Pakistan that have taken the lives of many civilians are being planned by Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in the lawless tribal region of South Waziristan, where the Pakistani army started an offensive on Oct. 17. Officials say more than 120,000 civilians have now fled the war zone. Difficult terrain, mines and fierce clashes have slowed Pakistan’s advance, and officials admit the offensive could take longer than expected.

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