Pakistan was reeling under more terrorist attacks on Monday, with at least 34 people killed and nearly 50 wounded in a suspected suicide bombing in Rawalpindi, while a suicide bomber injured seven policemen at a checkpoint on the Lahore motorway.
A powerful explosion, which police believe was caused by a suicide bomber, took place around 10.40 a.m. in the parking lot of a hotel off Rawalpindi’s arterial Mall Road, near a bank.
Late in the evening, a suicide bomber detonated himself when police stopped his car at a checkpoint outside Lahore on the motorway. Two of the seven injured in the blast are said to be in a serious condition.
The bomb attacks were the latest by militants to shake Pakistan since the first week of October, days before the military began an ambitious ground offensive against the Taliban in the tribal area of South Waziristan.
The military announced on Monday it had captured a Kanniguram, said to be a key Taliban stronghold in South Waziristan.
With the security situation in the country deteriorating, the United Nations announced it was reducing the number of international staff engaged in humanitarian work in the North-West Frontier Province and tribal areas.
The bomb attack in Rawalpindi took place close to the military headquarters where on October 10, soldiers battled militant gunmen who took hostages and laid siege to a building. Most of the victims were waiting to enter a National Bank of Pakistan branch to draw money on the first working day of the month. Many were senior citizens waiting to collect their pension.
Soldiers and military police were swiftly deployed to cordon off the site of Thursday’s blast giving rise to the speculation that soldiers may have been among the victims.