The South Asia Channel

Two bombings in northwest Pakistan claim four lives

Event notice: Auditing Afghanistan, a conversation with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. TODAY, 12:15-1:45PM (NAF). Unabated Militant attacks continued in Pakistan on Wednesday, when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the barrier protecting a police station in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, killing three and wounding 23 others (AFP, ...

BASIT SHAH/AFP/Getty Images
BASIT SHAH/AFP/Getty Images

Event notice: Auditing Afghanistan, a conversation with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. TODAY, 12:15-1:45PM (NAF).

Unabated

Militant attacks continued in Pakistan on Wednesday, when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the barrier protecting a police station in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, killing three and wounding 23 others (AFP, Dawn). Later, one person was killed and over a dozen wounded in a blast at a central market in the neighboring district of Hangu (ET, Dawn). Neither bombing appeared to be election-related violence, which has claimed over 100 lives in the past month, according to a Washington Post tally (Post, LAT).

The Taliban is not the only Pakistani militant group staging attacks on political candidates and their supporters this election season; separatists in the southwestern province of Balochistan have targeted fellow Baloch candidates and their supporters, who are seen by the separatists as betraying the cause by agreeing to participate in the upcoming elections (AP). At least six people have been killed and some 40 wounded in attacks targeting candidates in Balochistan.

Pakistani prime minister hopeful Imran Khan fell off of a forklift platform as he was being raised up to a stage on Tuesday, suffering two hairline skull fractures and a fractured backbone (NYT, AP, AFP). From his hospital bed, he made a rousing speech that asked whether Pakistanis want "a new Pakistan," and he pledged to "change the destiny of our children."

Meanwhile, the candidate who is expected to win Saturday’s election, Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), pledged to improve his country’s ties with India if he is elected (Reuters). "If I become the prime minister I will make sure that the Pakistani soil is not used for any such designs against India," he told CNN-IBN on Wednesday.

Disorderly conduct

Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, was adjourned abruptly on Wednesday following a scuffle between members of parliament and security forces whom Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi had called to expel a lawmaker who was causing a disturbance (Pajhwok). The Wolesi Jirga is sharply divided over whether or not to summon Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal over accusations that he failed to take advisors on foreign trips, was nepotistic in his appointments, misused his authority, gave contradictory budget figures in 2011, and collected money for President Karzai’s election campaign.

Suspected insurgents joined an anti-Pakistan protest in Kandahar City on Wednesday, where they opened fire at Afghan forces nearby (Pajhwok). Eleven people were killed in the return fire from security forces, including at least eight suspected militants.

An American soldier has been pulled from the front lines in the northern Afghan province of Kunar after locals complained last week that they had seen him throw rocks at a poster of President Hamid Karzai (NYT). Fortunately, the incident did not spark any clashes between villagers and U.S. forces, but it did reveal the frustration with the war that is simmering on both the Afghan and U.S. sides.

#PrayersforImranKhan

In contrast with the often-vitriolic campaign rhetoric seen these days in Pakistan, Imran Khan’s fall on Tuesday sparked a flood of get-well messages from politicians and the public alike, both in speeches and on social media (ET). Nawaz Sharif began a live statement on Geo TV with a request for prayers for Khan, while supporters tweeted messages of encouragement and even waited in tears outside the hospital for news on his condition.

— Jennifer Rowland

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