On Sunday, March 17, Pakistan drew the attention of information agencies, once again because of a terrorist act. In Islamabad, terrorists threw grenades into a Protestant church, in which there were many praying parishioners, most of whom were workers of foreign diplomatic missions. Five people were killed. For the time being, only two of them have been identified: US diplomat Milton Green’s wife and daughter. The diplomat himself and his son were injured. Moreover, as a result of the terrorist act, 42 people were injured: 14 Pakistanis, nine Americans, three Englishmen, five Iranians, one Iraqi, one Afghan, one Swiss, three Sri Lanka citizens, one Ethiopian, one Canadian, one Australian, and one German. Seven of the injured people are in a very serious condition. In total, 60 to 70 people were in the church when the grenades exploded. US authorities reacted at once. Secretary of State Colin Powel said that he was indignant and deeply saddened, while his assistant on South Asia, Christina Rocca, who was in India at that time, cancelled all of her meetings with Indian leaders and went to Pakistan.
It has been long known that Perves Musharraf's leadership does not resist Islamist radical groups. The last illusions disappeared after Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal journalist, was kidnapped and killed. However, the problem of terrorism cannot be solved so simply. Especially in Pakistan, where Muslim radicals are supported by most of population.
Another thing is not clear: how did the terrorists manage to penetrate the church? The church is situated not far from the territory where all diplomatic missions are situated, which are all heavily guarded. Therefore, the militants might have had accomplices in the police, in the units guarding the embassies, or even among the top leadership. It is the only explanation why the badly armed terrorists (only three of the six grenades exploded) managed to penetrate into the well-protected territory. And how did they manage to escape?
Of course, the Pakistani leadership condemned the terrorist act. A special committee was created, which will occupy itself with the case’s investigation. Guilty people will certainly be found, just like they were found in the case of Daniel Pearl; however, the journalist himself was not saved.
The United States will most likely pay more attention to Pakistan; however, it always paid much attention to it. After several US citizens were killed, the Pakistani leadership cannot be left face to face with the terrorists, because Islamabad has less opportunities to resist terrorism than Washington.
The events in the Pakistani capital could signify one more thing. The terrorists have probably changed their tactics and will attack Western journalists, diplomats, businessmen, and tourists. Is it possible to effectively protect these people? Recent events have shown that this problem is far from solved.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/18/38349.html
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