Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Pakistan opposition leader Bhutto says ruling party failing to fight Islamic militants

Pakistan opposition leader Bhutto says ruling party failing to fight Islamic militants

Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto accused the government of failing to crush Islamic militants, days after a suicide bombing killed 56 people during prayers in a mosque.
Separately Sunday, a suicide bomb attack on a military convoy killed five civilians and four soldiers in Pakistan's troubled northwest, an army statement said. It said 13 civilians and 10 soldiers were also wounded.
Bhutto's sharp criticism came as the campaign heated up for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.
The former prime minister blamed President Pervez Musharraf's government for the rise of Islamic militancy in the Muslim country during its rule.
"Militants gained power and the government's legitimacy weakened," Bhutto told supporters at a rally.
Though Pakistan is a key U.S. ally in the war on terror, Taliban and al-Qaida fighters have extended their influence over parts of the northwest in the past two years, and have launched numerous suicide attacks in recent months.
On Friday a suicide bomber, apparently targeting former Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, blew himself up in a village mosque. Sherpao said the blast killed 56 people.
As interior minister, Sherpao _ now a candidate in the election _ helped lead the government's fight against militants. He survived another suicide attack eight months ago.
Bhutto escaped two suicide attacks in October, when she returned to her country after eight years in exile.
Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister campaigning for the election, also held a rally Sunday, weeks after returning from Saudi Arabia where he had been exiled after Musharraf ousted Sharif's government in a 1999 coup.
Sharif said voting for his party would help oust Musharraf, who declared emergency rule on Nov. 3, giving the government stronger powers. Musharraf lifted the state of emergency on Dec. 15.
"I promise that I will strive to put Pakistan back on the path of democracy, because we need the rule of law, not a dictator," said Sharif, who is campaigning even though the Election Commission has barred him from running due to his alleged involvement in a corruption case and other charges.
The government said it will keep fighting al-Qaida and Taliban militants, and work to ensure a peaceful campaign despite attacks like the recent mosque blast.
"Pakistan is a front-line state in the war on terror. Such attacks cannot deter our resolve," Information Minister Nisar Memon said on state-run Pakistan Television.


Updated : 2021-05-07 18:35 GMT+08:00