Leaders like Fazlur Rehman vulnerable, says Pakistani daily


Islamabad : Leaders like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who was the target of terror attacks on two successive days, are “vulnerable because they must meet people and mingle with them”, said a Pakistani daily.

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Nine people were killed Thursday in a suicide-bombing that targetted Fazlur Rehman, who was exposed last week by WikiLeaks for his offer to the US to mediate with the Taliban. It was the second attack on him in two days.

The News International Friday said: “Someone seems determined to get Maulana Fazlur Rehman…Less than 24 hours after he survived an attack as a convoy headed to Swabi was hit by a suicide-bomber riding a motorbike packed with explosives, another suicide bomber targeted his convoy, this time in Charsadda.”

“These attacks are quite evidently not casual strikes but emanate from what now appears to be a distinct plot to assassinate him.

“It is also a well-thought one, with the would-be killers apparently well-informed of his movements. But each time Rehman and key aides have survived.”

Rehman has said that his party would not be cowed and blamed government policies for deaths due to drone strikes in the tribal areas.

Noting that it was impossible “at this point to say why, or guess when the next attack may come”, the editorial said: “Leaders like Rehman are all the more vulnerable because they must meet people and mingle with them. We cannot help but ask if this may be a case of monsters along the lines of Frankenstein coming home to roost.”

“The JUI-F has been seen, over many years, as being close to the Taliban; it has also been accused of helping to train militants. Perhaps, these militants now blame it for refusing to make a complete break with the government or perhaps the latest attack is a result of infighting between the growing armies of splinter groups. Quite possibly the motive is totally different.”

The two attacks on Rehman in quick succession came after a leading Indian newspaper March 26 accessed cables leaked by WikiLeaks that reveal Rehman had sent a message to the US embassy in New Delhi offering to mediate with the Taliban.

The Hindu newspaper reported that Muslim leaders in New Delhi stayed away from Fazlur Rehman when he visited the city in May 2006. He again visited the following year.

He then offered his services as a mediator between the US and the Taliban.

Rehman also sought the assistance of the Americans to help him play his “rightful” role in the Pakistan government.