March 8, 2011

Daily brief: up to 32 dead in Faisalabad car bombing

From The AfPak Channel by Katherine Tiedemann -
A spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has taken responsibility for a car bombing on a gas station in the eastern Pakistani city of Faisalabad that left up to 32 dead and 127 wounded, claiming the attack was in revenge for the killing of a militant by Pakistani security forces in Faisalabad last year (AP, CNN, Pajhwok, Geo, ET, WSJ, Dawn). The gas station is reportedly near the offices of local police intelligence services and the military, and a building of Pakistan International Airlines was badly damaged. The New York Times reports that this is the "first major terrorist strike" inside Faisalabad (NYT).

The Lahore High Court has delayed charging Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis in late January, until March 16, two days after the court is scheduled to rule whether Davis qualifies for diplomatic immunity, as the U.S. asserts (AP, AFP, ET, CNN). Davis is likely to be charged with murder, according to his lawyers (Reuters). Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari told visiting Obama administration envoy Marc Grossman that "misperceptions and some isolated incidents" should not affect the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, as Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said there will be "no back-door solution" to the Davis case and that he "stand[s] with the people of Pakistan" on the issue (AP, ET, AFP, ET, Dawn). Gilani is also seeking the assistance of some 300 Islamic scholars, currently attended a three-day conference, in considering a nationwide strategy to address extremism in Pakistan (AFP).

And a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed five reported militants in South Waziristan, the second strike there this year (AP, AFP).

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