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Pak cabinet slams intelligence failure

Pakistan’s cabinet lashes out at the country’s intelligence agencies for “failing miserably” to find those responsible for a wave of violence including the Marriott bomb attack, reports Kamal Siddiqi.

world Updated: Sep 24, 2008 23:04 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

Pakistan’s cabinet on Wednesday lashed out at the country’s intelligence agencies for “failing miserably” to find those responsible for a wave of violence including the Marriott bomb attack.

The rare rebuke came after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the security situation in the country.

“The cabinet desired that stern action by the law-enforcing agencies must be taken as their intelligence agencies are failing miserably to lay hands on the perpetrators of abnormality in the country,” the cabinet said in a statement.

Gilani expressed his “dissatisfaction” over the general law-and-order situation and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to fight terrorism, urging the creation of a more comprehensive anti-terror strategy, it said.

“Today’s cabinet (meeting) is haunted by the legacy of the Marriott Hotel suicide bombing,” Gilani said, referring to Saturday’s attack, which killed at least 60 people and injured about 260 others.

Gilani pledged to protect the country’s citizens, saying militants “did not have any ground to stand on.”

“The law of the jungle cannot be allowed to persist as we are deeply concerned about the life and property of the people of Pakistan,” he said.

50 arrested in raids

Over fifty people have been arrested in different police raids as the Pakistan government has cracked down on the activities of outlawed militant organisations. The raids, most of them in Punjab province, were carried out as the government announces stricter action to stem the rise in suicide attacks in the country.

Earlier this week, the Governor of the troubled North West Frontier Province, Owais Ghani, had told newsmen in Lahore that many of the suicide bombers were traced back to madrassas in parts on Punjab.

Ghani said that the government had identified a number of religious schools in Punjab where bombers were being trained. He said action in the province was overdue.

US drone ‘crashes’ in NW Pak

A suspected US pilotless drone has crashed in the northwestern Pakistani region of South Waziristan after missile attacks by unmanned US aircraft in Pakistan strained ties between the allies.

Pakistani news channels said early on Wednesday a US-operated drone had come down near the border village of Angor Adda, where US commandos launched a raid on September 3.

The Pakistani military confirmed that a pilotless aircraft had come down but did not identify it as American. “A surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle while flying over Pak-Afghan border yesterday night crash landed, on this side of the border ... apparently due to malfunctioning,” the army said.

“The wreckage... has been recovered.” American officials earlier denied that they had lost any drones: “No such thing occurred,” said one.

“The body of the plane is intact and there are no bullet holes,” said the officer who declined to be identified.

He said it was a small US drone.

“It’s American. It’s theirs, no one else flies drones there,” the security force officer said.

An intelligence official said aircraft was about 1 metre long with a wingspan of about 1.5 metres.