Daily brief: Dozens killed in bomb blast in Khyber
Familiar devastation As many as 35 people were killed Tuesday when a car bomb ripped through a bus terminal in the town of Jamrud in Khyber agency (NYT, BBC, AFP, ET, Tel, Reuters, AP). While no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing so far, authorities believe the attack is the work of the Tehrik-i-Taliban ...
As many as 35 people were killed Tuesday when a car bomb ripped through a bus terminal in the town of Jamrud in Khyber agency (NYT, BBC, AFP, ET, Tel, Reuters, AP). While no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing so far, authorities believe the attack is the work of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in retaliation against the pro-government Zakhakhel tribe for the killing by Pakistani security forces of a TTP commander, Qari Kamran, in Khyber last week.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday threatened to fire Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani if he did not implement the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and re-open a Swiss corruption case filed against President Asif Ali Zardari (AP, Dawn, ET). Gilani has hit out at the military in an interview with China’s People’s Daily Online, saying that army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha may have broken the law by submitting replies to the commission investigating the "Memogate" affair without seeking approval from the government (ET). Kayani reportedly called an informal meeting of his senior officers Tuesday and will release a statement about the interview (Dawn).
Former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani continues to push back against the investigation into his alleged role in the incident, saying Monday that he is the victim of a "witch-hunt" (Guardian, ET, Dawn). In other news, the commission investigating the death of journalist Saleem Shahzad last year is set to inform the government of its findings Tuesday (Dawn). And the commission investigating the presence and death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan is likely to complete its work by the end of this month (ET).
Sindh Interior Minister Manzoor Wassan said Monday that former President and military dictator Pervez Musharraf would be arrested as soon as he arrived in Pakistan, as Musharraf continues to publicly set the scene for a return to the country (Dawn, ET, CSM, CNN, Dawn). In Lahore, meanwhile, tragedy struck a concert, where three young women were killed in a stampede after the show ended (ET). And Dawn reports that as many as 40,000 women die each year from breast cancer in Pakistan (Dawn).
Four Taliban militants equipped with suicide vests attacked a government compound Tuesday in Sharan, the capital of Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, killing at least two police officers (AP, Reuters, BBC, CNN, AFP). Police are still reportedly fighting a fourth attacker.
Finally, Sami Yusufzai and Ron Moreau have a must-read on the state of negotiations with the Taliban, suggesting that President Hamid Karzai’s recent push to gain control of the Parwan prison is an attempt to reassert a place for the Afghan government in peace talks with the insurgent group (Daily Beast). They also report that according to Taliban sources, the insurgency’s lower level commanders and fighters are confused and dismayed by news of peace talks, with one commander telling saying, "No one understands what’s happening. It’s unbelievable." And three Afghan opposition figures, including warlord Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, warned four members of the U.S. House of Representatives Monday against negotiations with the Taliban, saying that they are "not honest" in a meeting in Germany (AP).
"I will not strip for Hollywood"
Pakistani actress Veena Malik, involved in an ongoing dispute with an Indian magazine over a racy cover featuring Malik that was published late last year, said in Dubai Tuesday that she "will not strip for Hollywood," adding, "I have my principles and I do what suits my personality and style" (ET). Malik also said that she had patched up differences with her father over the magazine controversy, and would return soon to Pakistan.
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