Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Breaking News: Gillani Survives Assassination Attempt

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has escaped unhurt after unknown assailants shot two bullets into his car after Gillani left the Islamabad airport.

The key political deveopments preceding this episode have been:

1. A more sustained assault on miilitant holdouts in FATA over the last few days and weeks, including the use of extensive airpower, including in Kurram and Bajaur agencies.

2. A call for a ceaasefire by Rehman Malik, promptly ignored by both sides.

3. An incursion into the tribal areas by foreign (read: NATO/American) forces, resulting in a raid that is said to have killed innocent civilians, including women and children.

4. The all-over-bar-the-shouting assumption of the office of the Presidency by Asif Ali Zardari.

I am surprised at this early juncture at the methods involved - most high-value assassination attempts in Pakistan, whether involving Pervez Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz, or Aftab Sherpao, have used suicide bombers or remote-controlled bombs. Using plain old bullets seems almost quaint. In the days to come, I'm sure more information will stream in.

Photo credit: AP


tanh1980 said...

Bullets vs armoured car should be a no-brainer even to the most retarded of retards.

My inner conspiracy theorist says it was done at the behest of Asif Zardari. Proof? You'll note that he went into hiding for security reasons just before this too.

AKS said...

Trying to gunning him down is strange, they would've known that they had no chance of getting him.

Some spectacular shooting though. I've witnessed the PM's motorcade on Sharah-e-Faisal a few times and dude they move fast. I'm thinking an ex-armyman, probably an SSG commando...hmmm, I wonder what Mush was upto this evening?

changinguppakistan said...

I also suspected some weird conspiracy when I first heard this story.

However, three people have already been arrested in connection with the attack, and one group has reportedly already claimed responsibility. A government official told CNN's Nic Robertson that as security tensions are increasing (as fighting increases in the FATA, militants are reportedly taking the fight into the cities and against government officials), more figures are driving in armored cars.

Those are the details that I just heard and am regurgitating. I agree with you, though Ahsan, the assassination attempt was markedly less sophisticated than those we've seen in the past. However, could it be possible that as fighting increases and tensions are exacerbated, that the fighting from the militancy side is becoming more decentralized and hence less organized? That's just a theory, one that I'm making as I try to make sense of this.

Ahsan said...

I haven't been watching or reading the news at all today, but on first glance, it certainly doesn't seem connected to the Taliban or their affiliates. But who the hell knows?

changinguppakistan said...

The Pak Taliban did claim responsibility for the attack, though the details seem pretty vague. When I used to monitor propaganda from Iraqi insurgent groups at my previous job, we found that it was often in various groups' interest to claim responsibility for attacks that they didn't even commit, either to bolster their own legitimacy within the broader spectrum of Iraqi insurgency groups, or to increase the perception that they are increasingly successful in their attacks. It's interesting, but I can be a bit of a geek about this stuff. I keep updating the story on my site.

Ahsan said...


Yeah it's quite obvious that militant groups can "claim" attacks they did not commit: who's going to prove them wrong? As interesting is the outcome when militant groups deny violence they almost certainly DID commit (e.g. Baitullah denying he had anything to do with BB's death). The point, I think, is that non-state actors have great leeway when it comes to claiming and denying violence, because all we have to go by is their word.