Bomb hits Pakistan amid political chaos

Bomb hits Pakistan amid political chaos

Bomb hits Pakistan amid political chaos

Pakistani security personnel inspect the site of an explosion in the Pakistani tribal area of Khyber near Peshawar yesterday that killed 35 people, wounded dozens. AP photo

Pakistan’s Supreme Court warned on yesterday it could dismiss the prime minister if he doesn’t initiate corruption proceedings against the president, turning the screw further on a weak government already under pressure from the powerful army.

The political turmoil comes as the country is struggling with urgent security challenges. Earlier yesterday, 35 people were killed when Taliban militants detonated a bomb in a market in the northwest close to the Afghan border, the deadliest such attack in the country for several months. The explosion took place in a market in Jamrud, one of the towns of the troubled Khyber tribal region, which also used to serve as the main supply route for NATO forces operating in Afghanistan.

The bomb hit vehicles being used by an anti-Taliban militia in the Khyber region, said local security officer Khan Dad Khan. “The total number of deaths in the blast is 35 while 69 people were wounded,” he said. Supreme Court’s recent ruling was the latest salvo in a long-running dispute between the court and the weak government. The conflict has been brewing since 2009, when judges struck down an amnesty protecting President Asif Ali Zardari and hundreds of other politicians from prosecution on graft and other charges and ordered cases against them reopened. The government has resisted doing this, arguing that the president has immunity from prosecution.

Gunfight in Afghanistan
Meanwhile, police killed three potential suicide bombers in Afghanistan’s volatile east yesterday after the attackers stormed a government building. Three policemen and four employees of the Telecommunications Ministry were killed in the firefight, interior ministry said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Paktika province, which shares a porous and ill-defined border with Pakistan. Eastern Afghanistan has seen increased violence in recent years, with insurgents taking advantage of the steep Pakistani border to launch attacks.

Compiled from AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.