Agencies warn of new spate of suicide attacks
* Targets may include the president, Benazir and US and Indian embassies
* Attock Oil Refinery also prime target
By Tariq Usmani
ISLAMABAD: Intelligence agencies have warned against a spate of suicide attacks by terrorists based in the Tribal Areas and Swat, targeting VVIPs including President Pervez Musharraf, former premier Benazir Bhutto, the US and Indian embassies and sensitive national and military installations, sources told Daily Times on Thursday.
“The high value targets include the top government hierarchy, top politicians including former religious affairs minister Ejazul Haq, and the Attock Oil Refinery in Rawalpindi. Besides the US and Indian embassies, their consulates and several other religious and political personalities are also on the hit list,” said a confidential National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) report available with Daily Times.
The report titled, “Threat to VVIPs, Politicians, Foreign Missions and Military Installations,” was forwarded on December 12 to all home secretaries and police chiefs of the four provinces, the federal capital, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Northern Areas.
The report has also been sent to the Frontier Constabulary commandants in the NWFP and Balochistan and director generals of Rangers in the Punjab and Sindh. The report is signed by NCMC Director (Operations) Lt Col Imran Yaqub, for the NCMC director general.
The report further reveals that militants from Tribal Areas and Swat are planning to carry out suicide attacks in collusion with the Al Qaeda. The sources said the terrorists could be guised as women, or be in military or police uniforms.
“Furthermore, five suicide bombers have already entered the NWFP to move to their target areas,” the report suggested.
Three former federal ministers including Aftab Khan Sherpao, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Amir Muqam are still using government-provided bulletproof vehicles, while other former ministers such as Faisal Saleh Hayat, Salim Saifullah Khan, Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind and Muhammad Ali Durrani are also reported be on the hit list of hardcore terrorist elements.
Meanwhile, in a separate letter addressed to the twin cities administration, dated December 12, the NCMC, quoting credible sources, revealed that a group of suicide bombers was preparing to hit the Attock Oil Refinery in Rawalpindi and also former minister Ejazul Haq.
Also, in another letter of the Intelligence Bureau, dated December 12, the twin cities administration has been directed to take stringent security measures on the eves of Christmas and New Year, in the wake of the looming threat of attacks by Al Qaeda and jihadi organisations.
“The emphasis needs to be on the security of foreign diplomats, foreigners living in Pakistan, and the Christian community who would attend Christmas prayers at different churches in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. It is apprehended that hardcore religious elements may try to disrupt the New Year celebrations,” the report said.