They were nabbed while getting off a bus on arrival in Lahore, city police chief Malik Mohammed Iqbal told a press conference. "Police have arrested three suspects belonging to a terrorist organisation and recovered four suicide jackets, 50 kilograms of explosives, a number of detonators, fuses and chemicals from their possession," Iqbal said.
According to a pro-administration newspaper Nation, while talking to BBC, former head of Inter Services Intelligence Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani has rightly pointed out that the suicide bombers are targeting military installations mainly because of their resentment at the policies of General Musharraf. Apart from other incidents of violence, the recent wave of suicide bombings, including the attack on Navy War College on Tuesday, bears testimony to the claim made by General Durrani. Musharraf's endorsement of US policies in Afghanistan; his identification with the US stance on fighting extremists in Pakistan; his use of the Army in pursuit of militants following blindly American instructions, are some of the causes which fuel anger among the suicide bombers. Moreover, the harsh and brutal manner in which the military operation was carried out in Red Mosque was quoted even by PML(Q) stalwarts as the main reason for hatred against the regime. Besides, the election results are also symbolical of the fact that people want the President to step down, and transfer power to the elected representatives of the people.
From certain quarters within the victorious parties, there is a demand for Musharraf to get a vote of confidence, leading to the subsequent possibility of his resignation. It is ironic that the Army is bearing the brunt of the President's ill-thought out policies, and is being attacked and seen as the main enemy. However, following the logic of his own premise that Pakistan comes first, he must step down, which would not only be in favour of the Pakistan Armed Forces, but also in the larger interest of the country.
On the other hand the visit by the Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm Michael Mullen to Pakistan in which he held separate meetings with President Musharraf, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Tariq Majeed and Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani highlights the US resolve to carry on with the War On Terror, come hell or high water. The US commander is reported to have remarked that indeed the US was anxious to help Pakistan in fighting terrorists, thus sending a clear signal to the incumbent as well as the incoming government of the importance the US attaches to the War On Terror. There are reports that a base would be provided for the Predator flights in Tarbela. Also significant is the report published in the Boston Globe saying that the US intends to send 30 counterinsurgency experts to Pakistan's Tribal Areas.
The Army is already being targeted by the extremists for following US policies. One cannot imagine the repercussions of the direct involvement of US troops inside our Tribal Areas. Rather than inviting US troops, the best way would be to find a negotiated settlement of all the problems.