Suicide bombers have killed at least 15 people in separate blasts in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. One attacker rammed a car into the back of a defence ministry bus outside an intelligence service office, while another blew up his vehicle at a checkpoint near army headquarters.
They are the latest in a series of similar attacks across Pakistan that have been blamed on Islamist militants. The upsurge in violence was one of the reasons cited by President Pervez Musharraf for declaring emergency rule. Rawalpindi, a garrison town, was also the scene of a double suicide attack in September that killed 25 people
While militants are increasing their attacks one of Musharraf’s political rivals is adding to the pressure on the military ruler. Exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is reported to be returning to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia. It means he should be able to run for parliament in elections set for January 8th.
Sharif was deposed by President Pervez Musharraf in the 1999 coup. He made an abortive return earlier in September this year, but was forced to leave only hours after arriving back in the country.
One who will not be standing is Musharraf’s most recent prime minister, Shaukat Aziz. He said he was ruling himself out for personal reasons.