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Czech ambassador among victims

world Updated: Sep 22, 2008 00:55 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

Saturday's attack on the Mariott Hotel was the worst terrorist bombing in the history of Pakistan with the death toll at 60 killed and 266 injured.

Amongst those killed were four foreign nationals, including the Czech envoy to Pakistan and his Vietnamese partner as well as two Americans.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on the Interior, Rehman Malik, told a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday evening he suspected the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan to be behind the attack although no organisation has claimed credit for the attack.

“All leads point to South Waziristan,” he said. One of the reasons why the Mariott Hotel fire could not be extinguished claimed Malik in his press conference was because aluminium powder had been added to the explosive, which accelerated the fire.

Most Pakistanis were shocked by the incident with many commenting that this was an attack on Pakistan not just on the government. Shafqat Mehmood, a former senator, said that it was a day of two opposite events.

One the one hand, after a long time a civilian president addressed a joint session of parliament. Mehmood said that on the other hand Pakistan witnessed its worst car bomb attack in its history and the death toll is expected to be much higher.

The News, a leading English language daily termed it ‘Pakistan's 9/11.’ Other media also suggested that this attack may change the thinking of most Pakistanis about religious organisations. Many Pakistanis said that they felt that many of the religious militants were misguided and should be dealt with peacefully. Observers say this thinking is now changing.

On Sunday, Pakistanis saw footage of the dumper truck that caused the blast. This was released by the government to show how brave guards and policemen stopped this truck from entering the hotel.

Meanwhile there are reports that the government has started a crackdown to nab activists and members of outlawed religious organisations.