Rehman Malik thanks Taliban; is grateful to them

Interior Minister Rehman Malik caused consternation by thanking the Taliban for maintaining peace during Muharram.

Last Updated: Dec 06, 2011, 23:02 PM IST

Islamabad: Interior Minister Rehman Malik
caused consternation on Tuesday by thanking the Taliban for
maintaining peace during Muharram, for which authorities had
deployed tens of thousands of security personnel across
Pakistan to prevent any sectarian attacks.

"I had appealed to the Taliban that they should respect
the Muharram. I am grateful to them that they respected the
Muharram this time. This is a good thing", Malik said while
speaking to reporters in Islamabad this evening.

Malik lauded the performance of policemen and security
personnel who were deployed in cities and towns across the
country to guard processions and religious gatherings
organised by the minority Shia sect.

Barring a minor bomb blast in Karachi and three rocket
attacks in the restive northwest, there were no reports of
violence, officials said.

The Shia community has often been targeted by militants,
including the Pakistani Taliban, during Muharram in recent
years.

However, there has been a relative lull in militant
attacks over the past few weeks.

Authorities put in place extensive security measures to
prevent violence during Muharram.

Security forces used helicopters to monitor religious
processions in cities like Islamabad and Karachi.

Around 7,000 security personnel, including commandos, were
deployed in the federal capital alone to guard over 900
gatherings and 177 processions.
Snipers took up positions on the roofs of buildings along
the route of processions while sniffer dogs were used to
screen people joining religious gatherings.

In Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan
province, mobile phone services were jammed during the day as
part of security arrangements for Muharram.
In Karachi, four persons were injured when a low

intensity bomb went off at Kalapul this morning, police said.

The bomb was detonated by remote control.
Five rockets fired by suspected militants in different
areas of Hangu city in Khyber-Paktunkhwa province, injuring
two security personnel.

One person was injured when a rocket fired by suspected
militants hit the main market of Kohat city in
Khyber-Paktunkhwa province.

Two rockets fired by militants hit the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
capital of Peshawar though there were no reports of
casualties.

Police found and defused two bombs planted along the
route of a religious procession at Mardan in Khyber-Paktunkhwa
province.

Two policemen were injured when members of the banned
Sipah-e-Sahaba, a notorious anti-Shia group, pelted stones at
a religious procession in Jhang city of Punjab province.

PTI