Pakistani politician blames assassination attempt on CIA, Pakistan government
A prominent Islamist politician and fierce critic of US presence in his country survived the attack unscathed. He blamed it on the CIA and local government, despite contradictory evidence.
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A suicide bomb in Pakistan’s turbulent northwest apparently targeting a prominent Islamist politician killed at least 10 people Thursday when it hit the politician's convoy, but failed to hit the politician himself. While police identified the bomber as a local student, the killed politician's party leadership pointed the finger at the US and at the Pakistani government.
The attack, which killed police and companions of the party leader and cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman, but did no harm to him, was the second time that the hard-line Islamist Jamiat-e-ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) party came under attack in two days, Reuters notes. The first attack killed 12 people at a JUI gathering in the northwest town of Peshawar before Mr. Rehman arrived. While the BBC describes his party as close to militant organizations, Reuters says that Rehman is a “firebrand” critic of the US-Pakistani government alliance to fight terrorism, but is still wary of militant violence.
Today’s bomb exploded near Rehman’s car in the town of Charsadda when the leader was on his way to attend a public gathering. Pakistan’s The News reported that police had found remains of the suicide bomber and his student card identified him as a local resident.
At a rally after the attack, the JUI Secretary General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri blamed the CIA and Blackwater for the attack, as well as Pakistan’s government for giving them "free reign" in the northwest. He accused the Pakistani government of giving free reign to US agents to target local leaders who speak out against the CIA’s drone program and said the JUI-F would hold protests on Friday to condemn the two recent attacks, according to the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn.