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Separate bombings in Pakistan kill 17

By Abdul Sattar and Munir Ahmed

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:49 a.m. HST, Mar 14, 2014


QUETTA, Pakistan >> Two bombings in separate parts of Pakistan killed 17 people and wounded dozens on Friday as judges ordered the country’s former president, Pervez Musharraf, to appear in court to face charges of high treason or face arrest.

The explosions underscored the fragile nature of security in Pakistan even as the government is trying to negotiate a peace deal with some of the Taliban militants operating in the country.

In the southwestern city of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, 10 people died and 37 were wounded when a bomb went off near a passenger bus, said Dr. Ali Mardan at the hospital where the dead and wounded were brought. Four of the wounded were in critical condition, he said.

The bomb was planted on a bicycle and exploded when the bus drove by, said police officer Abdur Razzak Cheema. Two vehicles carrying Pakistan troops had just passed by the site when the bomb exploded, said Cheema.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Baluchistan is dealing with separatists who are battling the state and sectarian groups who often attack minority Shiites. It is also believed to be home to many Afghan Taliban members.

In northwestern Pakistan, a suicide attacker blew himself up Friday near a police armored vehicle about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the city of Peshawar, killing seven people, said senior police officer Mohammad Faisal.

He said most of the dead were civilians but many police officers were among the 45 wounded.

Faisal said that police had recently stepped up patrolling in the area due to threats from militants from the nearby Khyber tribal region. The Pakistani army has carried out several operations in Khyber, in an effort to rid the area of militants.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for either incident.

The Pakistani Taliban, who operate in the northwest, are currently engaged in peace talks with the government. The group has announced a ceasefire but attacks claimed by its splinter groups have continued during the negotiations. 

Meanwhile, a Pakistani court on Friday issued another arrest warrant for former ruler Pervez Musharraf, although it gave him until March 31 to appear in court before the warrant would be carried out.

The legal proceedings in Musharraf’s high treason case started in December but the former general has only appeared once in court since then and still has not been formally charged. The charges had been expected to take place on Friday but Musharraf failed to appear in court again, with his lawyers citing security concerns.

The treason case stems from Musharraf’s 2007 decision to declare a state of emergency and his firing of judges.

Ahmed reported from Islamabad. 






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