At least nine were killed—including seven children—and more than 70 wounded July 13 in a bomb blast at at the home of a cleric Hafiz Riaz in central Pakistan, where children had gathered for religious education. Several houses were destroyed in the blast, on the outskirts of Mian Channu, 250 kilometers east of Lahore in Punjab province. It is not known if the blast was a terror attack, or if explosives the cleric himself had stored at the house accidentally detonated. (The Hindu, AKI, July 13)
Meanwhile hardline cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz demanded that sharia law be declared throughout Pakistan. “The rulers should announce Islamic sharia through the national assembly,” he said. “If they do not enforce sharia, there is risk of bloody revolution.” (AFP, July 11)
Despite efforts to return thousands of displaced persons from the Swat Valley, new fighting was reported there July 15, leaving one soldier and 17 Taliban militants dead. (PTI, July 15)
See our last post on Pakistan.
Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.
Bin Laden son slain in drone strike?
A US missile strike in Afghanistan early this year is thought to have killed one of Osama bin Laden‘s oldest sons—Saad bin Laden, 27, and also a high-ranking figure in al-Qaeda. Unnamed “intelligence officials” told the Washington Post the attack occurred in late winter and that the younger bin Laden had not been the intended target. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said one anonymous official. (WP, July 24)
Sufi Mohammad arrested
Sufi Mohammad, the cleric who leads Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) and brokered the failed Swat Valley peace deal, has been arrested with his sons. They are being held incommunicado and interrogated at Peshawar Central Prison. (Daily Times, July 31)
Baitullah Mehsud dead in drone strike?
Of course the elusive Baitullah Mehsud has been reported dead before. Will a Taliban power struggle be next? From the Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 7: