Suicide bomber kills general in Pakistan

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A teenage suicide bomber has killed at least eight people in Rawalpindi, including Pakistan's surgeon general, the highest-ranking member of the country's military to be killed since Pakistan joined the so-called "war on terror".

Lieutenant-General Mushtaq Ahmed Baig was on his way home in his car when the bomber, said to be 16, walked up as he stopped at a traffic light. The dead included his driver, a guard and five civilians. At least a dozen people were injured.

Since last summer, militants have struck Pakistan many times, including several attacks in the military city of Rawalpindi, where the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated last December. A week ago, Pakistan's parliamentary elections were held in relatively trouble-free conditions.

The victory for the Pakistan's People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), who are poised to form a coalition, has led to speculation that President Pervez Musharraf may stand down rather than face possible impeachment. He and his aides have repeatedly denied such a scenario. In a separate incident yesterday, unidentified attackers threw a bomb into the office of a foreign aid agency, Plan International, in the north-western town of Mansehra, killing one person and wounding eight. The dead and wounded were Pakistanis, an official said.

The British Army chief, General Sir Richard Dannatt, is in Pakistan for a week-long visit.