Brigadier falls prey to assassins

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani army brigadier and his driver have died in a shooting incident in the capital, Islamabad, police say.

They were travelling in an army vehicle when it was attacked by gunmen. It is not clear who carried out the attack.

It comes as the Pakistani army continues its drive against Taliban bases in South Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan.

A wave of attacks on Pakistani cities has killed more than 180 people during the month of October alone.

The attack on Brigadier Moeenuddin and his driver Asghar took place in the G-11 sector of Islamabad. At least one soldier was injured.

The vehicle was riddled with bullets, its tyres blown out and windscreen shattered.

Army and police commandos have cordoned off the area.

Police say two men of about 20 years old carried out the attack.

Witnesses say the attackers escaped from the scene on a motorbike. No group has claimed responsibility.

The shooting comes as Pakistan is on high alert, following weeks of suicide attacks by militants. The attack on the army vehicle was followed by reports of shooting at a court in the capital — but they proved to be a false alarm. This is the second violent incident in Islamabad in the past three days.

On Tuesday, at least nine people died, two of them suicide bombers, and at least 18 were wounded in twin blasts at the International Islamic University.

Following the bombing, the government ordered the closure of all schools and colleges across Pakistan.

Earlier, sector G-11 was outside the tight security “red zone” of Islamabad but on Wednesday Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the zone was being extended to cover this and some other areas.

The decision is part of recent measures to tighten security in Islamabad and other cities after the government launched an offensive against the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the north-west.

The army sent thousands of troops into South Waziristan on Saturday to destroy militant strongholds.

Fighting has been specially fierce around Kotkai, the home town of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

The area is out of bounds for journalists and there is little information coming out from there. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled the region in the last few weeks to escape the fighting.