Pakistani president and PM just missed Marriott bomb blast

Pakistan’s president, prime minister and other Cabinet members were supposed to have been at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad when a massive truck bomb detonated outside, killing 57 and injuring 266.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said their planned dinner was changed at the last minute, although did not say how far in advance it had been planned. The Speaker of the House, Fahmida Mirza, had planned the event for ministers, the president, their guests and various foreign dignitaries.

But at the last minute, President Asif Ali Zardari asked that the event be transferred to the Prime Minister’s compound, Malik told reporters during a handover service for Czech Ambassador Ivo Zdarek, who died in the blast.

No arrests have been made in connection with the attack. But Malik said suspicion is falling on militants in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

“I am not in a position to tell you who has done it, but (in) all the previous investigations, all the roads have gone to South Waziristan,” he said Sunday.

But Amir Mohammad, an aide to leader of the Pakistani Taliban Baitullah Mehsud, said he shared the country’s grief and was not involved.

Westerners in general don’t differentiate between Al Qaeda and Taleban. But, then, most Westerners don’t spend much time working at knowing the differences between radical Islamists and most Muslims.

I’m not certain if the habit of ignorance is nation-specific. Though my travels outside the United States pretty much found me among people who knew more about the United States – than a corresponding context in the United States.

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