Seven police among 13 killed in Pakistan bombings

Other News Materials 7 March 2009 16:39 (UTC +04:00)

At least seven police officers and six more people were killed Saturday in three separate bombings in north-western Pakistan, security officials and media reports said, dpa reported.

Seven law enforcers and a bystander died when an explosives-laden car blew up on the outskirts of Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province.

"An anonymous caller informed the police that a suspect car was parked in the Badhber area with a dead body inside, but it was a trap," local police official Ghulam Mohammad said. "When our officers approached the car, it blew up."

An official from the police bomb disposal squad said the car was packed with more than 30 kilograms of explosives, while city police chief Safwat Ghayor said they were detonated by remote control.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which also injured several people and destroyed a police van.

Separately, a roadside bombing targeted a paramilitary convoy in the semi-tribal Darra Adamkhel area, about 30 kilometres south of Peshawar.

Two civilians died and 10 people, including six troops, were wounded in the blast, which damaged two security vehicles and two private cars, Urdu-language Geo news channel reported, citing witnesses.

Three more people died and several were injured in another bombing in Tera valley Khyber tribal district, which is adjacent to Peshawar, the news channel said, without giving further details.

Pakistan has seen dozens of ambushes and suicide and roadside bombings by Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants over the the past two years, leaving thousands dead.

The Peshawar bombing came four days after a group of suspected militants ambushed the Sri Lankan cricket team with gunfire and grenades near a stadium in the eastern city of Lahore.

Six police officers and two civilians died in the attack, but all the athletes survived with six of the players and a British coach injured.

The strike raised concerns about the capability of ill-trained and ill-equipped Pakistani security forces to fight motivated Islamic extremists.

The fresh attacks come as the supporters of country's main opposition leader and two-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif are holding protest rallies against President Asif Ali Zardari, whom they suspect for being behind a recent court ruling that barred Sharif from elected office.

The power struggle between Pakistan's most popular leader Sharif and the widower of Benazir Bhutto, Zardari, has increased fears about political stability.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC Friday that the two leaders should put aside rivalry and focus on fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda militants who threaten not only US-led international forces in Afghanistan but also Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the secular Baloch nationalists extended the deadline "indefinitely" for the threatened killing of a UN official, John Solecki, held in Pakistan's south-western Balochistan province for around five weeks.

A shadowy rebel group Balochistan Liberation United Front (BLUF) told a local news agency Online late Friday that "the deadline has been extended indefinitely."

The BLUF has demanded the release of more than 1,100 political prisoners for the release of Solecki, an American national and the head of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Balochistan.