ISLAMABAD: Twenty-five suicide attacks and bomb blasts took place in the country since the announcement of the schedule of the general elections till their holding on February 18. One hundred and sixty-three people died in these attacks including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and officials of the security forces. Most of these suicide attacks and blasts took place during the election campaign of the political parties. A number of firing incidents also took place during the period.
According to details, the election schedule was announced on 19 November 2007 and the political parties started the preparations for election. The federal government directed for strict security measures in connection with the elections. The provincial governments and the law enforcing agencies took appropriate measures in this regard. The political leadership was also provided enhanced security because the interior ministry had expressed fears of suicide attacks
However, despite all this, a series of suicide blasts and bomb blasts started. The first suicide blast took place 24 November in Rawalpindi in which 24 people were injured and 35 injured. Most of these attacks took place in NWFP and Balochistan. A suicide attack on security forces in Quetta on December 13 killed eight cops and injured 18 others.
On December 21, a suicide bomber killed at least 56 people and injured more 100 in an attack on Eid ul Azha prayer in Sherpao village. Former interior minister Aftab Sherpao escaped unhurt in the attack. However, his younger son was injured. The most tragic incident took place on 27 December in Rawalpindi in which 20 people including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto lost their lives. In this incident, the culprit first fired shots and then carried out the bomb blast. Thirty-five people were also injured in this blast.
The death of Benazir Bhutto erupted riots throughout the country and the elections were postponed till 18 February. On 10 January, a suicide attack on policemen near Lahore High Court killed 26 people including 15 cops and injured 40 others.This followed suicide attacks on 4 February in Rawalpindi, on 9 February in Charsada, on 12 February in Khuzdar and 13 February in Swat killing scores of people and injuring even more.
In a firing incident, a PML (N) candidate for the provincial assembly was murdered on 17 February in Lahore. So far so that the violence continued till Monday the date of the elections. Bomb blasts took place in Swat, Quetta, Kohlu and Dera Bugti. However, no one was killed or injured in these blasts. But casualties occurred in different parts of the country in firing incidents on the election day.-SANA