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Militant wants MPs to bomb Pak Parliament

By Islamabad
July 08, 2008 13:40 IST
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A militant leader in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt has asked politicians, who contested the February 18 general election in his area, to help carry out suicide attacks on the Parliament, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said.

Mangal Bagh, the leader of the Lashkar-e-Islam group that was recently outlawed by the government, told candidates who contested the polls in Khyber Agency that only those who pledged to facilitate suicide bombings would be successful.

"I can tell you with authority that Mangal Bagh assured the candidates that only those who pledged to help carry out suicide bombings on the Parliament would emerge successful in the elections," Gilani told media persons on board his special aircraft on Monday while on his way to Malaysia to attend a regional summit.

Gilani's revelation came a little more than a week after security forces launched a crackdown in Khyber Agency against three militant groups, including the Lashkar-e-Islam.

The drive has been temporarily suspended to facilitate peace talks brokered by a jirga or council of tribal elders.

The prime minister said Mangal Bagh asked candidates in the polls to take an oath that they would facilitate suicide attacks on the parliament if they wanted his support.

The Lashkar-e-Islam, which has enforced Taliban-style laws in the Khyber Agency, has executed persons accused of adultery and threatened persons owning shops selling music and movies.

Over the past year, the group has sought to extend its influence from the semi-autonomous tribal area to the nearby city of Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province.

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