< < <
Date Index
> > >
Yahoo! News Story - Pakistan Says Militants Switch to 'Soft' Targets
by Yahoo! News
11 August 2002 10:36 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
Title: Yahoo! News - Pakistan Says Militants Switch to 'Soft' Targets
News Home - Yahoo! - Help

Welcome, Guest Personalize News Home Page New  -   Sign In
Yahoo! News   Sunday, August 11, 2002
Search   for     Advanced
News Front Page
Top Stories
   Middle East
   Latin America
Oddly Enough
News Photos
Most Popular
Full Coverage

News Resources
AP Features
News Alerts
Pope John Paul
My Yahoo!
Add World - Reuters to My Yahoo!
World - Reuters
Pakistan Says Militants Switch to 'Soft' Targets
Sat Aug 10, 3:49 PM ET

By Mike Collett-White

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan said on Saturday Islamic militants, blamed for two raids on missionary institutions this week, were increasingly attacking "soft" targets, and that intelligence must improve to counter them.

Reuters Photo

The government was responding to calls for greater security for Pakistan's three to four million Christians in the wake of separate attacks on a missionary school and missionary hospital in which a total of 10 people, including one attacker, died.

"The authorities must beef up security for Christian institutions and places of worship and come down hard on those behind these horrifying acts of terrorism," wrote the respected Dawn newspaper in an editorial.

Pope John Paul ( news - web sites) condemned the attacks as "heinous crimes" which could not be "condoned or tolerated."

Major-General Rashid Qureshi, a spokesman for President Pervez Musharraf, said Pakistan had only limited resources to throw at the problem, particularly with hundreds of thousands of its troops still posted along the border with India.

"But this calls for further vigilance, for better intelligence where preemption and prevention should take over from tracking down culprits after the act," he told Reuters in Rawalpindi, the military headquarters near Islamabad.

In the wake of the attacks, police have already been briefed on how security may be improved at the major Christian centers and communities in the populous Punjab province, according to Lahore Bishop Alexander John Malik.


Monday a Protestant school near the resort town of Murree was attacked by three gunmen who shot dead six Pakistanis, including two security guards. The assailants are believed to have committed suicide Tuesday when challenged by police.

Friday attackers lobbed two hand grenades at a crowd of women filing out of a morning service at a Presbyterian chapel in Taxila, killing three nurses and injuring over 30. One of the attackers also died.

Qureshi condemned the attacks, but said they would not deflect Musharraf from clamping down on militant Islamic groups.

Militants are angry with the military leader for supporting the U.S.-led war against the ousted Taliban militia and the al Qaeda network it sheltered in neighboring Afghanistan ( news - web sites).

His promise to crack down on Pakistan-based Kashmir ( news - web sites) guerrillas blamed by India for raids on its section of the disputed Himalayan region has further alienated militants.

Pakistan backed the Taliban and continues to lend "political" support to Kashmiri rebels, although guerrillas are known to have been supplied and trained by Islamabad in the past.

"These attacks will only further cement the resolve of the government to fight extremism, terrorism and violence, and we remain committed to removing it from the soil of Pakistan," Qureshi said.

He was hopeful that the choice of two "soft" targets this week suggested that militant groups, several of which have been banned by Musharraf, were finding it harder to pose a real threat to national security.

"I find a level of frustration and panic among them. They have been universally condemned. They have now diverted to soft targets, like schools, mosques and churches all over Pakistan."

Dozens of people, including foreigners, have been killed in suspected Islamic militant attacks throughout the country since last October.

Qureshi blamed arch-rival India for failing to de-escalate tensions over the disputed Kashmir region, meaning Pakistan had to divert resources to patrol the India-Pakistan border.

"India has tried to build up pressure on Pakistan and has diverted most of our armed forces away from the Afghan border and the cities," he said.

< Previous Story
Mail to Friend  Email Story
Printer Version  Print Story
Next Story >

Message Boards Message Boards: Post/Read Msgs (20 msg Aug 11, 4:13 AM ET)

More World Stories
ZIMBABWE: White Farmers Defy Order, Remain on Farms
Fri Aug 9, 6:26 PM ET - (OneWorld.net)
Embattled pop star Nicholas Tse to take a break from the limelight
Sun Aug 11, 4:39 AM ET - (AP)
Afghan Authorities Raid 2 Buildings
Sun Aug 11, 5:25 AM ET - (AP)
Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Gunman in Gaza
Sun Aug 11, 6:21 AM ET - (Reuters)
Malaysian Rights Body Decries Jail Term for Youth Leader
Fri Aug 9, 5:39 PM ET - (OneWorld.net)

Daily Emails
Free News Alerts

Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >