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Militants could target Pakistani media: Security official

The offices of Pakistani print media organizations, private TV channels, the National Press Club here and press clubs across the country will be the next target of terrorists, a security official says.

world Updated: Oct 16, 2009 13:29 IST

The offices of Pakistani print media organizations, private TV channels, the National Press Club here and press clubs across the country will be the next target of terrorists, a security official says.

The official said a telephonic conversation of an operative of slain Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud's network had been intercepted "wherein he was issuing directives to his subordinates to target offices of security forces in all major cities of Pakistan besides attacking media offices all over the country", The News reported Friday.

They would mount pressure on the government from all sides, the official said, adding the militants had changed their strategy and would attempt to target top officials during their attacks.

"There are reports that terrorists could hijack school buses of some educational institution," the newspaper quoted the official as saying.

He said information had been received that terrorists' networks were operating in rural areas also.

Pakistan was hit by five terror attacks Thursday that claimed at least 36 lives.

Heavily armed Taliban militants dressed in military fatigues staged simultaneous attacks on three police establishments in Lahore leading to the deaths of 25 people, including 10 attackers, before the security forces restored order. Earlier in the day, a suicide bombing in Kohat town in the restive northwest left 10 people dead, while an eight-year-old child died in a similar attack in Peshawar town of the same region Thursday evening.

The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the Lahore attacks, which were seen as a reaction to the threatened Pakistani Army action against the militants in their South Waziristan stronghold along the Afghanistan border. The TTP had Saturday staged an audacious assault on the Pakistani military headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, taking hostage 42 officers and soldiers, who were freed after a two-day standoff.

Pakistan has been rocked by a string of terror attacks in the last 11 days that have claimed more than 100 lives.

Last week, a suicide bomber detonated a car stuffed with explosives in a busy market of Peshawar, killing 53 people and injuring over 100. And Oct 5, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the UN World Food Programme office in Islamabad killing five people.

The Lahore attacks come a day after it was announced that Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had ordered that an advisory on tightening security be issued following the assault on the military headquarters.