|Pakistan's Premier Gilani Unhurt in Attack by Gunmen|
|Wednesday, 03 September 2008|
by: Khaleeq Ahmed and Farhan Sharif
Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -
Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was unhurt after gunmen attacked his motorcade in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. “Of the multiple sniper shots fired on the prime minister's vehicle, two hit the window on the driver's side,'' said a statement released by the government in Islamabad. “The prime minister and all members of his motorcade remained unharmed.'' The attack underscores the need for the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government to tackle rising terrorism, which killed 2,000 people last year, including Benazir Bhutto, the leader of Gilani's party, in a Rawalpindi suicide bombing Dec. 27. The government has been paralyzed by disputes between coalition members since elections in February. The gunfire took place when Gilani's motorcade was traveling on the Islamabad Highway from the airport to Prime Minister's House, Geo TV said. Gilani wasn't in the car when the attack took place, Dawn News TV reported.
An investigative team will present a report on the attack, within 12 hours, Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told reporters in Karachi. Rawalpindi is 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the capital, Islamabad. Images on state-run Pakistan Television showed two bullet strikes on the driver's window of Gilani's armored black Mercedes.
Gilani, 56, becomes the latest among Pakistani leaders to be attacked by terrorists. Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and ex-President Pervez Musharraf have survived assassination attempts while in office. Gilani, a native of the Punjabi city of Multan, took the oath as prime minister in March.
Last month, the government seized bank accounts and assets of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an alliance of five pro-Taliban groups formed in December, which has claimed responsibility for various terrorist attacks in the south Asian country.
The Taliban, opposed to Pakistan's support for the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, is fighting the army in the northern tribal region bordering Afghanistan and according to local media reports it has claimed responsibility for carrying out suicide attacks. The premier has said the government is using a combination of economic and political measures and selective use of military forces to combat extremism.
Gilani began his political career in the 1980s, when the then military ruler General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq appointed him to a powerless advisory council set up after parliament was dissolved. He joined the PPP after Zia died in a plane crash in 1988 and Bhutto was elected prime minister.
During Bhutto's second term as prime minister, from 1993 to 1996, Gilani was the National Assembly speaker. He spent five years in jail under Musharraf's rule for alleged corrupt hiring practices in the National Assembly secretariat -- charges Gilani's party says were politically motivated.
(Courtesy : Bloomberg )
|Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 )|
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