Attackers Focus on Soft But Devastating Targets in Pakistan
    2010-04-20 01:51:10     Xinhua      Web Editor: Chu Daye

Targeting public places in recent wave of violence in northwest Pakistan shows that militants are now focusing on soft targets but huge damages, analysts said.

Blast in a crowded market in Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday evening left more than 25 killed and over 40 injured. The blast took place near a political gathering when people in leadership of a religious-politico party, Jamaat-e-Islami, in Qissakhawani market assembled to lodge their protest against ongoing load shedding in the country.

This was for the first time that a religious party was targeted.

This was the second blast in last seven hours in the city. Earlier in a car blast near a Police Public School, a child was killed and another 10 were injured.

Two days ago, two back-to-back explosions near an Internally Displaced Person's (IDP) camp in northwest Pakistan's Kohat left 41 killed and 64 injured.

Two weeks ago 41 people were killed and over 100 injured when a suicide bomber detonated himself amid a public meeting of the provincial ruling party, Awami National Party (ANP), in Pakistan's northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as North West Frontier Province. On the same day U.S. consulate in Peshawar was attacked resulting in killing the seven attackers.

Blaming Pakistani militants for the fresh attacks, defense analysts Brigadier Mehmod Shah told Xinhua the militants have been weakened and it is hard for them to hit hard targets as military installations previously they attacked.

"Today for the first time they targeted Jamaat-e-Islami rally. The party never says anything against the militants' groups. So I conclude that the militants are in haste and frustration, they don 't know what to do," he added.

What the attackers really want? Defense analyst and expert on militancy Imtiaz Gul told Xinhua that the opposite forces want to insert frustration among masses and demoralize the government as well as the public.

By carrying out such activates they also want to prove the claim of the government that backbone of the militants was broken as false, Gul said.

Both Shah and Gul agreed that militants are striking back also as a reaction of the army operations in Orakzai and Khyber tribal areas in the country.

"Orakzai and Khyber areas are in proximity with the settled districts in Pakistan and once the areas would be controlled, the government would focus on Waziristan. In Orakzai militants are loosing the war and are in tension for action beyond Orakzai," Shah said.

In his view, the military would be able to control situation at the end of the current year. The militants can no more manufacture the suicide bombers so easily as most of their facilities were destroyed but they are using the bombers they already had in stock, he maintained.

Analysts are agreeing that the militants also want to exert pressure on the government for stopping the operations in Pakistani tribal areas.

However, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, while commenting on the blast, said that the government is resolved to fight terrorism till the end and it would never change policy.

The federal government in the country has also several times expressed their determinations to fight terrorism till the end.

On the other side, the general public in Pakistan is wondering as to why they are targeted. In a telephonic conversation a Peshawar local said that the only crime of the people is that they don't know what is happening and why is happening.

"It is not bad to oppose violence and killing. Violence should be stopped because we want peaceful life, free of tyranny and exploitation," he concluded.


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