Musharraf Orders Security Measures in Lead-up to Elections
Elections were postponed six weeks following the assassination of the country’s main opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto. The subsequent clashes between her supporters and police left at least 58 people dead.
The Pakistani government blamed her death and a string of suicide bombings that have killed hundreds in the past few months on al-Qaida-linked militants bent on destabilizing the country.
A suspected militant suicide bomber walked up to police outside the High Court in the city of Lahore and detonated explosives, reportedly killing 19 people on Jan. 10.
On Monday, a bomb exploded outside a textile factory in Karachi’s Landhi district, killing at least 10 people and injured about 40 others, GEO television in Pakistan reported.
Terrorist attacks have killed more than 800 people in Pakistan in the last six months, according to Bloomberg News.
Musharraf has said elections will not be delayed again and that he instructed security forces to take action against terrorist acts.
“I have said to the rangers and army shoot anyone who tries to do anything of this sort (disrupt the election),” he said in a speech at the opening of a new bridge on Monday, reported the Associated Press.
An anti-terrorism court, meanwhile, sentenced three militants to life in prison Tuesday for plotting to kill Musharraf in 2002 by setting off a bomb as his convoy passed by in Karachi. The car did not explode because the detonation device malfunctioned, judges said. Musharraf has survived at least two other attempts on his life since the 2002 incident.